Class Notes, Week 9: Practicing with an injury

The Moksha yoga teacher training program requires me to journal once each week about my experience with the poses and assignments + my practice and progress. This is part of that weekly assignment.

This weekend I overdid it:

Moving around furniture in a fit of feng shui-inspired enthusiasm
Pushing myself at a Saturday morning yoga class
triggered an old gymnastics injury in my lower back

I could barely move during the final Sunday training class of this semester.  When it came time to do handstands against the wall, I was crying inside.  I so wanted to be inverted in my favorite pose, but I knew that it wouldn’t help my body heal.  Pragmatism and patience over ego and desire.  Sometimes that’s a hard pill to swallow.

This injury is an unexpected gift, however.  In the Sunday class, and during these past few days, I experienced what it’s like to have a body that doesn’t move so fluidly.  The aches that come with walking up flights of stairs.  The pain of sitting for long periods of time.  The persistent throbbing while standing aboard the L.  Many people come to yoga with bodies in this condition, or far worse.  Sometimes it’s hard for me to relate.  This is a gentle reminder.

Personal anecdotes, as shitty as they can be, have helped me develop empathy and compassion for things that may not have truly resonated with me before.  For instance, I didn’t really relate to my girlfriends’ painful breakups until I had my own heart broken.  Of course, I don’t want the universe to shower me with challenge and pain — but every once in a while, sure, as I know it should ultimately evolve into something positive.

Challenges, big and small, are a unique opportunity to learn and explore, too.  With my back injury, I’m learning what feels “right” and which poses are helpful.  Laying in Happy Baby pose, directing my breath into my back as I watched TV, was very enjoyable the other night.  And tonight, Triangle pose was heaven on the low back.  Someday, these personal discoveries may help a student.

Not wanting to aggravate my back at Sunday’s class also forced me to practice teach without physically getting into the pose.  That was a good challenge.  It kept me focused on the student, taking the emphasis off me and my body.

I just hope that I heal completely before this weekend’s Tias Little “Anatomy of the Chakras” workshop …

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