It has been a humbling few weeks. Injury that started in December due to me trying to "breathe through" a too deep massage which irritated my nerves and muscles has been flaring up off an on since. With the increase in my yoga schedule, wanting to deepen my own practice, and quite simply not entirely doing what I teach (listening to my body close enough) my body is asking me to slow down. This past week in particular has been my body not just saying, slow down, but screaming it.
Injury and illness have always been uncomfortable companions for me. My teen years were spent being quite low energy, anxious and ill. This is for a host of reasons that I now realize had very little to do with physical wellness and much more to do with mental/emotional wellness. There are a lot of learned limiting beliefs around what I "should" be able to do with my body. Injury reminds me that I have limits that need to be honoured. I have healing that needs to take place. Yoga has been a place of healing for me. A connection to my body that I hadn't been able to find before finding the mat. I am grateful that I found this practice in my teens, at a time that I was fed up with being fed up.
With this injury (back, spinal, muscle) I am learning that the patterns of movement I have held for much of my life create limitations that I need not honour. I am learning that unlearning 30+ years of movement takes time and my ego can't rush the process no matter how strong it thinks it is. It is giving me increased perspective of how the physical ways that I hold myself are due to how I was raised, due to how I carry my stress, and how I interact with the world. I know these things. I have done a lot of work already to unlearn them. Sometimes when I look at pictures of me 3+ years ago I am surprised by how closed off my body looks to me now. I have been examining the closing of my chest in relation to the way I protect my heart, how I shrink when I feel out of place. But it becomes to much more apparent the negative ways these things affect me when it's the body doing it as a learned pattern that is no longer serving me.
Do you sometimes find yourself crossing your arms over your body when you feel uncomfortable? Do you notice a slouch when in a room of people you don't know? Does your body hurt as a way to avoid doing something you don't want to do?
These are all things I have "learned" that used to serve a purpose for me. They kept me safe from perceived harm (even though they caused more harm in the end). But now, I don't want these patterns. It is the path to relearn now, to learn how to hold myself in safety, in security, and in a way that doesn't cause me pain.
So with humility and the realization that my body, and my mind, has a lot of relearning to do, I am trying to slow down. To ask for a break. To try to not beat myself up so much that my body is hurting. It is with humility that I arrive on my mat and have to move so slowly that each movement is put together in pieces without grace, and with an intense and extreme curiosity as to how I move, which muscles are there, and how I can do it safely. It is with humility that I find myself on the mat learning as a student in my body as to how I can do better for myself.
How have you been arriving at your mat? Are you feeling each breath, each limitation? Are you meeting these with a humble curiosity rather than judgement? I hope I am. I hope I continue to.