Ok ok, maybe I am exaggerating a bit. I don’t LOVE being injured. In fact, most of the time you’ll see me moping and whining about it.
But something happened this weekend that made me realize how we can use injury as a way to self discovery.
The saying “suffering is what brings you closer to God” is very common throughout the religious and spiritual realm. What does it mean exactly? Essentially, it’s saying that we find our faith through our darkness, pain, and hopelessness. It’s through this pain that compassion is born. Without suffering, compassion is not possible. We must break our hearts in order for it to open to the world.
I walked into class on Sunday morning with a slightly hurt shoulder (I blame the chatturangas) and a very tight left hamstring that has caused unending sciatica this past week (I blame over stretching). I was pretty apprehensive about physical activity but after four days of no yoga I needed to take this class. I am sure you have all experienced yoga withdrawals. It’s not pretty.
So I decided I was going to take it slow. To be mindful. And for the first time I started to feel like I was doing YOGA. I followed my breath. I listened to my body. I was mindful at every transition. I didn’t want to further injure myself so I tested my sore spots slowly. I paid close to attention to what was happening. And with an injury you tend to be extremely aware of that area anyway so this aided in further discovery of how my muscles works together. I didn’t worry if the class was two poses ahead of me; my priority was self exploration and enjoying the practice.
I left the class feeling less injured than when I walked in, which is something something considering I took a vinayasa class.
Most of the times we will do one of two things during an injury, we will either stop mobility all together (which is sometimes necessary for healing) or we will push through it. It depends on where you are of course and what injury you sustained. But I find with my issues that the best way to deal with pain is neither to withdrawal from it nor continue to push through it but rather slowly embrace it. Acknowledge that your body is trying to communicate. Most of the time we hurt ourselves because we do not listen to what our body is telling us.
I attained a whole new level of appreciation for how yoga enables us to open to what is. If we are receptive, we go right into the hurt, physical or emotional, and walk out stronger and ready to conquer the world.