Thursday, May 5, 2016

Use Yoga to fix Yoga

Im a Power Yogi.  Meaning that I gravitate to all those practices that fall in the category of Power Yoga - Ashtanga, Vinyasa, and all its offshoots and teacher choices.  I took my first class over 10 years ago and it was so hard I was terrified to go back again but deep down I knew I wanted to.  Then one day practicing yoga changed from "looking forward to the end of class" to "looking forward to the beginning of class", which happened not long after I had committed to take a class every day.

Then I took it to the next level, practicing 2 and 3 times a day sometimes.  One time I remember going to 5 classes in a day. Teacher Training. Workshops.  Books. But this writing is not about obsession.  Its about injury.

Even before the obsession kicked in, I started to get injured.  First shoulder, then hamstring, then back.  Increasing the frequency of Power Yoga classes didn't help.

So I started going to a new age chiropractor.  New age because before or instead of cracking and yanking he used massage and needles.  His handy work didn't help my injuries but a story he told me did.  He told me about all the yoga instructors that came to him and in spite of their injuries did not stop doing poses that aggravated them.  This stuck with me enough to peel back my yoga to once a day which was not enough. But the story lingered.

And then I read about how Ganga White hurt himself practicing, and he couldn't practice.  Meaning he couldn't practice in the way he was used to. And then one of his students suggested that he use yoga to fix himself. This was an AHA moment for him.  And for me.

Yoga is meant to be a healing transformative practice.  So I thought, why am I going to physical therapists chiro's and el, so that I can do yoga. Rather I must listen closely to what the practice I love is telling me.

In my mind Power Yoga was yoga and I needed to open my eyes and recognize yoga's core which manifested itself in so many other versions of the practice - Iyengar, Viniyoga, Kundalini, etc.  So many different perspectives on the use of Hatha poses and Kriya's.

So down the rabbit hole I went, and today I am injury free.  And I am still a Power Yogi...just a bit more open minded and less obsessive.  My intellect and ego has learned to treat transitions as a pose and the same duo knows which poses not to do on any given day. They can spot the pose that is not right for me from a mile away.

Is funny how injuries were teaching me yoga's most basic lesson - it does not matter what I look like in a pose, what matters is what my awareness looks like.

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