The Guru That Is Pain

2012 taught me how to soften my grip on my practice and not beating myself up on the mornings I didn’t make it.  Being a new parent and creating rhythm takes time. My home practice started SUCKING wind the latter quarter of 2012 – plus I worked through some physical shit in my lower back (Sacro Illiac) and glutes. Let’s just say I kept leaving practice achey and had a dull pain in day to day life for about 4 months.   

David Keil’s article nails my experience- and I worked with my Chiropractor, Dr. Michael Meleander for a month.  He came highly recommended by Josh Summers – who had also seen him for work.  Regardless of where you are in your practice – pains show up.

It seems my pelvis is crooked , this is very common in most of us and sometimes it’s muscle related and sometimes it’s structure. The offset pelvis could of been there before pregnancy..but pregnancy and post-partum exaggerated it as a result of carrying a child, horomones, ligament shifts that happen during and after pregnancy.The joys of being a woman!

My chrirpractor used Active Release Technique on several parts of my psoas, gluteal minimus, and piriformis, erector spinae, etc…he discovered adhesions throughout my psoas as  a result of trauma during the labor and delivery of my daughter .  This created a contracted psoas – long story short –  AY YI YI.  I had a pain in my back and a pain in my ass.

The good news – is the work with my Chiro added more awareness and learnings into my body.  Also I am more balanced :).  I realized that my practice post pregnancy was probably not as integrated as it needed to be and I was essentially practicing in a very different body than before pregnancy.Things are feeling better and the pain has shifted and my practice has improved in terms of stability and refinement.

My key learnings:

1) Heightened awareness of bandhas & breath.

2) The imports of engaged feet, legs  and the affect of this on your pelvis, core, and therefore spine – and also gaining insight into how the body compensates to make up for what is not being used.  In my case – upper back over working – creating a shorter/contracted psoas –  pulling on lumbar vertebrae – affecting pelvis, hips, and even upper back/neck.

3) We often avoid pain in the form of ignoring or denial.  This is the human condition and is addressed in the Yoga Sutras.  I ignored – I am human.

4) Shedding light on the source of the pain requires the tools of courage, honesty, compassion, and results in more courage, heightened awareness,  and stability.  Maybe even some better decision making in the many corners of our life.

5) You Go back.  Rediscover and refine foundations – “ripen in the advanced” .

6) The human body is amazing.

7)  Yoga asana reveals what is going on in the body  as a result of emotional trauma,  physical trauma, and some our own doing through lack of awareness and old patterns. It shows up in the various stages in a lifetime of practice.

8) Pain is a powerful guru from within,  if we are willing to learn.

9) Practice IS a lifetime…we have to learn how to ride the waves.

If you are working with a chronic injury, inflammation, and discomfort over a  period of time and it doesn’t shift – GO SEE A SPECIALIST (recommended by someone you trust)! Take rest if you need – but as some wise person said – “avoidance is not the answer”.

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The Way Things Are by Geneen Roth

As I find myself worrying about my life and reliving certain stories – I have come to a place of observing as opposed to reacting or repeating certain patterns – I found this…and it couldn’t come at a more perfect time.

Thank you Geneen for the reminders.

The Way Things Are

1. What you take yourself to be is who you needed to become to survive. Our longing is to know the parts of ourselves we put away before we knew what we were doing.
2. All psychological blocks are doorways to our true nature.
3. What we pay attention to grows.
4. If you spend your life rooting out pain, you will become a hunter of pain, not a finder of joy.
5. Until we examine what we really want, we mistake indulgence (in what we think we want) for freedom.
6. It takes great effort to become effortless at anything.
7. Joy and delight and curiosity must be cultivated, although they are utterly natural states of being.
8. Happiness is an inside job.
9. How you get there is who you will be when you arrive there. And there is no there there.

Keep up the practice,

Sandra

Learning

I am looking forward to this weekend.

I am attending a workshop at Yoga East in Portsmouth, NH (I love the seacoast and the Yoga East community) with Nicki Doane and Eddie Modestini.  I’ve been wanting to do this workshop for the past 2 years but the stars did not align.  This year it’s on!

Here is the rub, my body is “tore up from the floor up”!  I’ve got a wrist thing going, my right sacroilliac joint is on fire due to holding a 21lb baby on my left side (it’s rotated and maybe slipped according to my PT cousin), and my right ankle is barking again.  Basically my entire right side is not optimal.  I find it interesting though, because this is not the first time I’ve shown up to practice with big teachers with body stuff (I went to India with a bad back and studied with Tim Miller recovering from an ankle sprain).

As a long-time student and from working through injuries before, I know there is opportunity here -a  chance to dig in, reclaim, and focus on other parts of the practice. The biggest growth in my practice has come out of these moments.

 “We have to do the best with what we got!” And some days we show up with crumbs.

Interestingly enough, what I am dealing with in body aren’t really injuries, but rather pains from bad body patterns/habits of day-to-day life as well as some mental rubbish.   It’s been a rough week in mind and body for me.  I think it’s fair to say – whatever is going on in the mind will present itself in the body.

There was a moment (a fleeting moment) that I was ‘bummed’ because my body is not optimal for the awesome weekend ahead.  This voice, the “poor me” voice I am familiar with, and I’ve learned to push her off.  You have this “poor me” voice?  Yeah, well I really learned how to manage her during my pregnancy…because here is the reality – your mind and body are always going to present things.

We have a choice in how we choose to respond.  Yes…we do.  So here is my choice.

I am looking forward to working on other parts of the practice knowing my limitations.   This is exactly what yoga does…it reveals what’s really going on – the places that are longer, shorter, tighter, uncomfortable…it is designed specifically to be a mirror to what is going on inside and out.  I cannot think of a better way tap into about the power of awareness, and the structure of the body and it’s limitations at any given point, than from looking in the mirror,  embracing all of it, and taking action to create change.

Count on a blog post, post workshop…I am interested to see how I feel after the weekend.