Practicing Again

Here we are again.  Another opportunity to practice self-care and self-love following a surgery and a chance to look at my yoga ‘practice’ in a much deeper way.

This time around a hip surgery to repair a torn cartilage, likely damaged as a result of too much yoga.  Yea that is what I said…..too much yoga.  Specifically, too much external rotation in pigeon pose during in an intensely heated class.  From what I have learned about this type of injury, it is unfortunately quite common in yoga teachers and practitioners who practice in heated classes.  The ligaments, tendons and cartilage become too hot too fast and get over stretched and over loosened, often resulting in an injury like mine.  My pain specialist told me he currently has eight yoga teachers seeking treatment for the exact injury.  Hmmmmmm…..

The recovery for this starts with four weeks of minimal weight-bearing and the use of crutches. After that it is a slow and mindful period of rehabilitation and careful attention to not over rotate the hip to undo what the surgeon has done to repair the cartilage.  The complete recovery is typically three to six months.

Plenty of time to ponder and to practice in a totally different way.

One way my practice looks different is writing and collecting experiences. For years, I have wanted to document and write all that I have experienced through having my unique girl and as a result my teaching yoga to people with disabilities.  It has been a remarkable journey and to write it all into a logical book format has begun a beautiful practice.

I am also practicing more stillness. My typical day is one of five to six classes throughout the day with only enough time to drive from one location to the next.  I usually eat in my car while I am driving and by the end of the day, I am so overstimulated and nearly frantic that I collapse into a heap when I get home.  Now, I am required to sit and to mostly be still.  I allow myself a few hours of computer/writing time in the morning and then the remainder of the day is quiet awareness of what is going on around me.  I am watching as spring takes shape in my neighborhood through the beautiful front window.  I am noticing the sounds that I typically do not get a chance to hear when I am gone all day. I spend hours reading, journaling, building jigsaws and just being in the silence of my home.

One of the most beautiful gifts of this experience has been the connection I have developed with my mom.  She graciously offered to fly up from Florida and spend a week helping me.  The time together was far more than just her assisting me with daily care.  This was a visit of redemption.  Her loving ways and nurturing seemed far from the childhood memories of being sick that has haunted me.  As a little person, and as she was a single mom self-employed, when I was sick she was stressed.  Now that I am grown I can easily see that her stress was not about me.  For years, I took on her emotional state as shame of being weak, sickly and a pain in her neck.  Her coming up to help me healed so much of that falseness that I have carried for years.  I came to realize that she did the best she could during that season of her life and now I get to experience a non-stressed mom nurture me with the most tenderness I could have ever wished for.  The slight of hand caring and tenderness of her touch was like a balm for the wounds that I have felt most of my life.

I have done this medical recovery thing a few times in the last several years. Each time, I get a little more aware of what practicing really can be.  The mindfulness and respect for my body gets a little richer and a little deeper.  I am reminded of the fragility of the human body and the power that can come with being more in the present moment. I am grateful for the love that exists between a mother and a daughter and the healing that can come in unexpected ways.

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