The past week has been a lot to handle and I’ve been really allowing my frustration with my injury settle in and consume me. I have been entertaining way more self pity than I would like to admit. After doing my prescribed exercises Wednesday evening I dissolved into tears on the couch.
My physical practice for yoga is nonexistent because my range and strength are drastically reduced. I can’t even sit and meditate because I can’t sit cross-legged yet. Physical therapy is hard because I can’t bear all of my weight solely on my left leg and it hurts. There are so many “I can’t” statements that I have been making. The one I need to focus on right now is: I can’t let this injury absorb my being.
As I complained about not being able to practice yoga, my good friend reminded me that there is SO much more to yoga than asana. And you don’t need to sit cross-legged to meditate. And this is a great opportunity to really dive deeply into the non-physical practice of yoga. I was really feeling that way last week, but allowed myself to succumb to the negativity lately.
Today, I’m refocusing. When I find myself giving in to frustration, I am going to redirect and shine my energy on santosha (contentment). This niyama is about feeling at ease and at peace with yourself. Even when it’s most challenging, like when you are frustrated.
I am going to be mindful of my thoughts and channel the mantra om shanti, shanti, shanti when I find myself becoming negative. I am going to start reading the second book for YTT and immerse myself in the ancient wisdom. I am going to take my teacher’s advice and be gentle with myself.
I’ve been getting up two and half hours before work for the past few weeks, heading to my zen den with a cup of tea, and practicing yoga. It has been a lovely way to start my day and has changed day-to-day depending on my needs. Some days are SO hard to get up. Those mornings tend to be primarily easy, stretchy flows. Some days I feel like I need a kick in the ass. Those mornings consist of a faster paced, strengthening flow. I even went to the gym with a friend to add to my work outs.I was really beginning to notice the changes in my movements and was becoming excited about my progress.
I feel like every time I get on the right track to wellness, some kind of road block pops up. This time, it was the recurrence of an old injury.
While chasing down some stray staples from under my desk at work, I (quite unwisely) was twisting while going from squatting to standing. Cue loose knee cap. Shooting pain with simultaneous popping noise and sensation. Back to the ground. I landed on the floor on all fours shocked and horrified that my knee dislocated. This hasn’t happened in 13 years and couldn’t have happened at a worse time- exactly four weeks before YTT starts.
I was up and walking within a couple of hours and had no choice but to navigate the stairs into my apartment after work. With the addition of a new brace after an orthopedic appointment yesterday, I was feeling optimistic about my recovery and being able to get back to my regular practice within the week. Until I started the PT exercises last night, that is.
It is mind-boggling how quickly muscles lose strength or are resistant to movement after an injury. Just the simple task of bending my knee by sliding my heel toward my butt while laying on the group was impossibly difficult. To console myself and say I’m really just super weak and it’s not that bad, I tried it with my good leg. Yeah. It’s really that bad.
So now I’m having a serious struggle with myself because my first instinct is to just be depressed and allow myself to wallow. But I can’t do that if I want to get better. I do NOT want to have surgery, so I need to prevent this from happening again. I really need to be good about my exercises no matter how frustrating it is to feel my weakness.
After reading that last sentence, it just dawned on me that this is another challenge to allow myself to be vulnerable. I want to avoid the exercises because it forces me to confront my weakness. Albeit physical weakness and vulnerability, it 100% relates to my current goals. I don’t even like being vulnerable with myself. I would rather ignore that a problem exists and go about my business like nothing is wrong. This can’t be ignored, though. It’s time to put in some serious work if I’m going to be functional in four weeks.
A constant in my life for the past few years has been the presence of my yoga practice. If you have ever taken a yoga class before, you have likely heard the phrase “root down to rise up.” What does that even mean?!
In a yoga class, that phrase alludes to creating a solid, focused base and working your way up the body to allow your pose to grow. What about in life, though? How can we use this intention, root to rise, to encourage personal growth?
After being slapped in the face with some self truths regarding my inability to be vulnerable, I’ve been on a serious quest to examine how I can grow as a human. Not just adding new skills to my resume and calling that growth. In order to grow, I need to root down. I need to reinforce my foundation and overload my being with self-love and acceptance. What better way to do this than diving head first into my yoga practice?
Right around the time of my birthday about six weeks ago was when I really began contemplating this concept of rooting down in my life, in myself. The idea of a yoga teacher training is something I have flirted with on-and-off for awhile, but never did it because I was afraid I wasn’t good enough. I wasn’t ready. Helloooo, resistance to vulnerability. It’s like the theme of my life. Anyway. I was talking to my bf about it and he gave me just the push I needed to sign up. Now, my YTT starts next month and I am eagerly awaiting our first assignment to come in.
To really root down in my journey of self-love and acceptance, I’m working on practicing daily and journaling about it. It’s okay if I don’t meet all of my goals. It’s okay if I miss a day or two or three. My primary goal is to be alright with wherever I am.
This morning I showed up on my mat for about 25 minutes. My cozy bed and the cold air made getting up so hard and I wasn’t feeling like being creative. Sun salutations FTW. Could there be anything more foundational? My hamstrings were so tight I couldn’t even touch the floor when I first started. My chaturanga still needs some serious work, so I was practicing with my knees on the ground. But I was there. And I felt better laying in savasana knowing that.
That’s already an improvement in self-love and acceptance. Being vulnerable with myself is allowing me to know myself, creating deeper roots. The deeper the roots, the greater the growth in rising up.