If you had told me a year ago that my yoga practice was about to shift drastically, I would have been surprised. Insight tends to follow change. But the lessons of the past six months have shown me that over time, our changing relationships with our bodies are reflective of something incredibly important- our ability to learn, grow, shift and mature with time.
You may have noticed that I am not on the teaching schedule these days. Where am I? I’ve been busy creating a new relationship with my feet! The X-Ray is of the bone spur on the bottom of my right heel- the hook that triggered changes in how I walk, which triggered other significant changes in my life. A blow to the bottom of my right foot in November eventually resulted in significant foot pain when I walked. February 10 was the last day that I taught on the regular Yoga Loft schedule.
I love flow yoga. I’ve had a long and hesitant relationship with movement every since I was a child. I’m terribly uncoordinated and never really understood how to move. But my training in Anusara Yoga created awareness of both the general shape of a yoga pose, as well as subtleties in movement that have given me incredible freedom. I was braced for scoliosis for 3 years as a young teen, and as I developed better awareness, movement became freedom from back pain, more room for my asthmatic lungs to expand, a calmer way of being in the world, and play. Flow is play for me.
So what do we do when something happens- when something shifts and changes and our way of being isn’t available to us for either a moment, a month or a lifetime?
I’m not sure where you go, but I tend to start with resistance. Foot pain- keep teaching. Resist. Walking on the side of my foot- keep teaching. Resist. Standing on one leg while teaching- threshold crossed! Something has to change.
Resistance is usually followed by a strange dance of paralysis and action. Once I realize a threshold has been crossed I take action, but stop short of pro-actively moving into a new way of being. Instead, I situate myself in the world of the in-between. Rehabilitation- physiotherapy and massage and acupuncture. Avoiding things that hurt. Stretching and self care. Supplements. The healing stage. The waiting phase. I look back at what I was doing pre-injury- expecting to head back in that direction.
Six months later I find myself in yet again a new place. Adaptation has resulted in pain in both feet- surprisingly more in my left than my right. And I am learning that sensation really is just sensation. I can now go out and walk my puppy. I am stepping back into the seat of the teacher, and so far I have learned that teaching a full hour-long flow class is not yet an option. My personal practice of flow is so slow it’s actually more like a foundations or gentle class. And the way I spend my spare time at home has changed- I’m more likely now to go for a bike ride than a hike and I am no longer barefoot all of the time. I have spent a lot of money on new shoes.
So I am in a new phase- one where my relationship with my body and my yoga practice has taken me full circle. I am a beginner again. Tight in some areas and weak in others. Learning to use yoga for my most essential needs- calm mind, open body, open heart and steady focus. My practice is less about celebration of freedom and more about deep appreciation for this vessel that carries me through my days.
As I get used to the idea of a new way of being the final shifts I am making are in my teaching. There is a always opportunity in change. I can now dive deeper into yogic practices that are far from flow yoga. More pranayama (breath practices). More restorative yoga. More meditation. More floor work. Now is the time to explore this way of practicing.
My changing offerings are being introduced in a new Yoga Loft class called Flow To Restorative. Come find me Mondays at 5:30pm. Or join Lacy Tuesdays at 4pm. We will both be sharing our love of the full spectrum of yoga.
June 2, 2016