Recently I've unexpectedly encountered a road block in my life (another one). I was shoveling the snow on my driveway for the 3rd time... When suddenly my back spasmed and gave out. This was all new to me considering I'm a 27, fit, flexible yoga teacher. How does THIS happen to ME? I have been practically bed ridden for the last 4 days not being able to move or really do anything for myself and THAT'S frustrating since I'm a very independent woman, or it could be the fact I hate asking for help.
Over the last 3 days I've been on crazy medications containing ridiculous amounts of muscle relaxers since the regular drug store stuff did nothing for me. I've had to take more time off work as well as cancel all my yoga classes for the week. The insecure part of me only wonders what my students must think of me hurting myself. I was able to relax a little more when I received countless emails from them containing LOTS of well wishes and positive vibes.
Then there’s the ego part of me. Everyone has one...and it's not a bad thing, It just depends how BIG yours is. Mine...well let's just say I'm learning to not let it get the best of me or be TOO big.
Being a yoga teacher and a yogi of 6 years myself I am more flexible than most. I'm not trying to sound conceited or toot my own horn, it's just the truth. The asanas or poses is just a small part of what yoga is, but being an instructor it's one of the things I value most. After this unfortunate accident I went from being able to put my legs over my head and doing the splits to not even being able to touch my toes. It's frustrating to say the least. I was getting angry, upset and pushing myself and nothing was helping. I had to tune in and really think about what was happening and what wasn't happening too. I had to become my own yoga teacher.
I thought about some of my students and what they've gone through in the past. I've shared a lot of stories with my students and they've shared a lot with me which led me to deepen our practice together because I understood what they needed.
I had to ask myself- What do I need right now?
I focused in on my body, listening to the breath, feeling the tense muscles and moving step by step welcoming the positive and negative reactions. It was my lower back that was the big concern but NOT what needed the most stretch. It was my hamstrings (its ALWAYS those guys) that were taking most of the beating. I was able to lie down and stand up with minimal pain, but sitting was unbearable. When I was standing I would banana back to take the pressure off. This was actually narrowing my sacrum and the muscle surrounding it and shortening my IT band and hip flexors. Having to lay on my back most of the day was not helping this situation whatsoever.
When I first started to stretch I was frustrated and angry with myself (for ultimately putting myself in this position and not listening to those who told me "lift with your legs") I had to stop, reflect, and suppress the ego. What a great opportunity life is presenting me I told myself. I'm able to teach myself how to stretch breath and surrender all over again. Feel what some of my new students were feeling and maybe even discovering new ways to stretch and teach my class. Connecting with each of my students was one of the things I loved most about my job and being able to relate as much as possible to their feelings and frustrations was important to me. As a yoga teacher already being flexible I had felt I was sort of loosing my ability to "feel" and relate to those certain things again. Maybe this was a test or what felt more like a slap in the face... A BIG wakeup call to really appreciate the little things, and definitely welcome the progress not matter how big or small.
The first thing I focused on was my breath. Using the breath to help move through the moments of insecurity, instability and sometimes pain and discomfort. It was proven to me all over again that the breath is an amazing tool to keep calm, relaxed and really does help in those situations.
I then focused on the stretch. Moving myself into a pose. If it was too much I came out of it a little bit. I found that sweet spot between neutral and pain. It was the uncomfortable boundary that I played with and surrendered to. Overall I needed to be careful and remind myself that although I wasn't in that much pain anymore, it could be the meds masking it and still had to take it slow.
Today was day two of physio and noticed how much more I can do and how much further I can reach. I really was proud of myself and was thankful my body was responding so well. That was the biggest lesson through all this. Be thankful for even the littlest progression you make with your body. It doesn't matter how fast or how far you go, you're still moving forward and that's the wonderful part. I know I'll be back to where I left off sooner than later, and maybe even more advanced but for now I'm just working with how my body is today... in this moment... cause that's all that matters.
I’m just going to add that after all of this happened, my computer broke so I blogged this entire entry on my iphone. If you have an iphone you know how annoying the touch screen is and how WRONG predictive texts are. Anyways, I’m pretty proud of myself, in more ways than one :)