Meditation by the sea, Vinyasa flow class with a handstand workshop, breakfast, teaching yoga to special groups workshop, lunch, washing my clothes in the bathtub, hanging out with friends by the pool and the snack bar, catching up on some emails, watching the National Geographic video “Inside the Living Body,” getting a massage, connecting with the roommates, taking a shower, and now listening to the rain as I write this blog: that about sums up my day today. Tomorrow is graduation! I will have my 200 hour RYT (Registered Yoga Teacher) certificate tomorrow! It’s been 3 amazing, hard, challenging, fun, painful, delightful, stretching, growing, hilarious, restful, engaging, weeks. Was it worth it? Absolutely. Am I going to celebrate tomorrow night? For sure. Is there still more to look forward to and work on. Definitely. When is there not?
This has been day 2 of sitting out of asana practice. ☹ My arms have been tingly and somewhat numb for a little over a week, progressively getting more so as the days have gone by. I mentioned in an earlier post that I had an acupuncture treatment because my wrists hurt and that it relieved some of that pain, but it has slowly crept back on.
It’s an interesting place to be: at a yoga teacher training where we are doing yoga daily, sometimes twice a day, and not able to participate physically. I was pretty upset about it yesterday, but it was a powerful moment. One of the many things Awakened Life School of Yoga is good at is cultivating a space to let one sit with and work through stuff. Chris, one of the co-founders, let me cry, laugh, cry, and process these feelings of disappointment, frustration, awareness, pity, realization, and then enlightenment. He did such an incredible job of lovingly sitting beside me, but not stopping the process. “Getting a tissue” as we have jokingly yet realistically called it. I saw, yesterday, that it’s not a big deal if I don’t complete every single yoga asana class! I realized that it’s not normal for people to have tingling and numb arms. I realized that I had been pushing through this just for the falsity that I “needed to keep up and be like or be more advanced” than the other students in the class. When I realized that, I laughed and laughed, and then cried some more. I told Christ though, that I wanted to create a new normal. His response: “You will.”
Today I had a 1.5 hour “healing massage.” I’m giving myself some more time to determine how much help this has been, but there has definitely been some shifting. He did some good work with pressure points, muscle, myofacial tissue, tendons; it was intense, yet relaxing! My body is settling into this new alignment. We will see how things are in the morning. I’m hoping, and expectant, for a miracle. One of the yoga instructors told me yesterday that I need to take a break from yoga asana practice until I don’t feel pain, then slowly ease back into it, determining which poses are bothersome. I think it all stemmed from shoulders stands, which I am pretty sure I was actually doing as neck stands; however, as I was sharing with both Chris and the yoga instructor yesterday, I have been through a LOT of trauma, surgeries, near death experiences, chemotherapy, organs removed, chemo, broken bones, falls, etc. And as the yoga instructor so eloquently stated, things are all interconnected. With my abdomen having a lot of scar tissue, it can create a pulling forward of my spine and tension on my neck.
In tonight’s Restorative Yoga class, we ended the class with some chanting and contemplative silence. As I was sitting there, I began asking myself the question “when will I be fixed? When will I be healthy?” What immediately came to me, almost audibly, was: “you are perfect just as you are.” It rocked me. It was so freeing! I am absolutely perfect, right now, right here! There is no “fixing” that needs to happen! I am free to be me.
Enjoy this video. I hope it’s not too shaky. I obviously took it while walking.
Thanks for reading. I hope you are inspired to keep on moving forward, regardless of your past traumas, pains, hurts, and to stop, be vulnerable, be real, honest, and open, and realize that you are perfect: right now, without changing a single thing. You are loved.
Summer has ended and rain and cooler temperatures have come to Redding sooner than expected. Although I absolutely love the sunshine, the heat, and the busy-ness of summer, the slower pace that fall and winter provide help me to reflect, reevaluate, and take a step back to see how things have gone and how I want to move forward.
I haven’t always been so focused. I haven’t always set goals. In fact, I used to purposely not set them because I wanted to live “free” and take things as they came, but really, it’s only through setting goals that have I gained freedom! So counter-intuitive.
With the plethora of injuries and health problems I’ve had, because of financial hardships, because I am passionate about helping others, and because of my faith, I have begun to set goals, cast vision, and take time to stop and reflect. I used to be scared of slowing down because I didn’t like who I was, although I didn’t realize that. Hind-sight is 20-20 and I’m now using it to move forward, and get bigger, better, stronger. Like with a yoga practice or any other exercise, muscles only get stronger from momentary “pain” or discomfort and the level of sacrifice that a vision requires determines the size of the person or people who follow. I want to be great and inspire greatness in others, so goals need to be cast, revised, and celebrated!
Proverbs 29:18 says, “Where there is no vision, the people perish…” (KJV). Perish means to die; to pass away or disappear; to suffer destruction or ruin; to suffer spiritual death. This signifies the importance of vision: stated aims and objectives; the act or power of anticipating that which will or may come to be; a vivid, imaginative conception or anticipation (Dictionary.com). Speaking for myself and comparing where I am now with where I was even just 2 years ago, I am so much more alive because I practice en-vision-ing, goal setting, vision casting, and because I stop to reevaluate, and celebrate how far I have come.
If we have no vision or goals for our life then what shapes or defines how we makes choices? Looking at my own life, I can see that a lot of decisions have been made based on what was easiest, what was least likely to cause pain or discomfort, I have flittered about like the wind, directionless, and I have been searching.
I know a lot of others are searching too, maybe even you. I want to encourage you to start right where you are. Set a goal. Do you want to lose weight? Do you want to run a marathon? Do you want to be debt free? Do you want to get married? How might you get there? Set some goals for the month, 6 months, the year, etc. and then set some tactics, or smaller more manageable steps to take in order to accomplish the bigger goals. The good news is that if you don’t accomplish something, you can try again. To be successful, one must fail. I pray that you know the 1John 4:18 love that casts out fear (of failure, etc.) and step forward, get back up if you fall down, and try again.
I have some large goals with yoga and I took some time today to practice and watch my “Yoga Journal Advance Your Practice” DVD. What was really cool is that I haven’t been practicing these exact poses but maybe once in the past year and I was shocked at the amount of flexibility and strength I had to get as far as I did. An amazing fact about goal setting is that sometimes, the goals get accomplished without even trying! It’s because we took the time to put them to thought, or en-vision them, that they manifest. I haven’t found all goals to be this way, but it sure is encouraging when some are! I think it’s God way of giving us fuel for the harder or more challenging ones.
May you dream big, cast your nets wide, and see your children’s children prosper because of what you did today and do tomorrow. It’s not really not even about us and when we stop and take time to set goals and make steps towards them, the world is better for it.