I can’t say I loved yoga the first time I attended a class. After that first class I actually left the room thinking “what is all the fuss about?” Not someone to give up, I decided to give yoga another chance and from that second class on, I’ve been hooked. Yoga has changed my life in many ways, mainly by allowing me to completely step away from the demands of my life even if just for 90 minutes a day. My practice leaves me feeling rejuvenated, grounded, calm and at peace. Each day I find that what I am learning from my practice encompasses more of my life off my mat.
At the same time of filling my life with positive experiences, my yoga practice has at times been one of the most frustrating activities I’ve encountered. They say yoga shouldn’t hurt, but when you live with chronic lower back pain, it’s been a practice in itself learning how to practice yoga without pain. Most postures didn’t cause discomfort, but any posture involving a backbend brought on pain and frustration. I would leave my mat often questioning “is the pain worth it?” Yet there was something that always brought me back to my mat. My challenge with working with my obstacle was finding the right balance. Initially I would push myself into the posture and attempt to breathe through the pain. It didn’t take me long to realize that approach wasn’t working so I avoided backbends all together but I found something was missing in my practice. What I needed to learn was how to practice backbends with my limitations.
It was this desire to learn more about my own personal practice that drew me to the teaching training program. Although I had practiced for 2 years prior to starting teacher training, I knew nothing about props and just how much they can help reduce limitations. I often recall the day I found details of the training program online just 3 days prior to the start of the training and I am grateful that I made the quick decision to apply and that they found room for me. I truly believe that had I not found the Yoga Centre I would no longer be practicing yoga as without all the knowledge I have gained though this program and the teachers, I would not have been able to overcome my obstacle.
For some, a posture like backbend through the chair brings joy, for me just the mention of the posture caused frustration. With the patience and guidance of my teachers, we have finally found what works for me. I have found the right balance that will allow me to move into this backbend with minimal pain. It wasn’t a quick and easy journey but over time I have learned to enjoy this posture and have been able to move onto more challenging backbends. I can’t say I love backbends, but I’m hoping that one day I will.
Injury or limitations can be great teachers. The life lessons I have learned from this experience are:
- · To not compare myself to others, I have to focus on what my body is able to do (self acceptance without judgement)
- · That I had developed patterns and I had to learn to change those patterns, to let go before I could move forward
- · That it will take time. I have to be patient, I have to wait and allow change to come
My yoga is a journey, a lifelong practice and with patience, awareness and kindness to myself and my body, I know it is possible to overcome any obstacle that I may face.
Marcie is a member of the YCW 200hr Teacher Training program