I dreamed earlier this week that I had the most wonderful physical asana yoga practice ever.
I don’t really recall any particular posture or sequence. But I can feel the essence it brought to me: a sense of space, of feeling open, free to move and a release of tension.
This dream was amazing; I haven’t been able to have a true physical practice since I broke my foot two and a half months ago. The physical practice of my dreams brought a smile to my face and a sense of lightness to my heart.
Today I went in for my first “real” yoga asana class since injuring my foot. It hurt so badly.
I managed through the seated postures and struggled with the rest. It took a full minute to sit my hips on my heels for child’s pose, down dog hurt my foot so bad I came down to my knees. Having my foot on the floor in all fours hurt, I couldn’t walk backward or forward for a lunge. My balance on my right side was awful.
What I really wanted to do was curl up on the floor and sob. I don’t think this experience could have been any more different than the peace and calm I found in the practice of my dreams.
It was physically painful. And it was emotionally painful.
I have never experienced this in my regular asana yoga practice before today. So many limitations, so much farther to heal, wanting to do what I used to be able to do, resisting accepting my body as it is and at the same time surrendering to it. It gave me new insight into how my students feel when dealing with their own healing bodies.
I sobbed on the drive home from the early morning class. Doubts of myself, the healing process I’m going through, am I worthy? All that went through my mind.
I felt nauseous. I was tired. I didn’t want to go back and teach at nine o’ clock. I focused on breathing and honoring my sadness and also the anger that was present.
When I began to teach I brought the class’s awareness to connecting to our inner and outer selves by recognizing our inner light and letting it shine on all parts of us. The aspects of ourselves that we like and those that we would prefer to never see again.
We need to see both fear and love.
As I introduced my class and set the intention for today’s practice, I was speaking outwardly to my class and feeling the lesson from within. I was talking to myself and my self began to cry. I’m not one to cry in my classes.
Yet every one of my students sent me the energy of love and compassion. They could see my pain and could relate to it, each in their own way. The class was lovely and I felt so much better while teaching. The Sun mantra we practiced also help shed light on our dark spots and bring healing.
It is interesting to see how looking at and feeling your pain and suffering can bring so much healing and love.
When we shine our inner light we have to look at everything that is there. Our inner light (the soul) doesn’t change by what is there and it certainly doesn’t avoid shining its light anywhere.
It is the ego self that says don’t look at the pain–it’ll be too hard for you to handle. The voice of the ego states with logic and reason all the things we should be and not be, the parts of us that are so called good and supposedly bad. Instead, it is with love and light that we look at it all. Avoiding nothing brings us to healing and freedom.
With all this pain today, crying, finding strength, feeling weak I keep hearing a saying that goes:
“Where your attention goes, the energy flows.”
I find that a lot of people (myself included in the past) take that as a reason to not look at the pain and to just focus on joy, love, peace and centeredness. They think that if you look at something that seems hard, painful, frightening that you will get sucked into it and live in a hellish kind of place for some time, that just by looking at pain you have a more painful life.
I don’t think that is it at all. Just by looking at what is there doesn’t make you become it. If you look at a pint of ice cream you don’t become it. If you over-indulge and eat the whole thing at once you will take on its qualities.
So just by looking at pain, you don’t become it.
By wallowing in it and over indulging you can overdo it and feel more pain than necessary. But, if you only look at the “good” and ignore the “bad” or pretend that it isn’t there you will not find balance. You will not heal the wounds caused by the pain.
The only way to heal the pain and fear in your life is to look at it squarely and honestly.
You must be willing to see what is there so you can be conscious of its message for you. All the pain and fear and worry are all just messages—something to learn from and heal.
What messages do you see in your life? What kind of pain keeps reoccurring for you? What lessons are you missing? Your body doesn’t lie. Your emotions don’t lie (they can get carried away and over-indulged but they don’t lie). You just have to be willing to slow down and listen, to look and really see what is there.
My inner light knows the perfection that my body holds.
It is helping me create the life I want by showing me what is in the way. For my foot to heal fully, I must honor what is there. The pain my life holds, the lessons I am supposed to learn, the capacity I have for compassion and freedom. When I am connected to my truth and am willing to see what is right in front of me I have the ability to take charge of my life. I can choose to heal the wounds, feel the pain, cry a little and then surrender to what is and live in a connected peaceful way.
I’m not running from anything and my centeredness doesn’t have quicksand as a foundation.
I am me. I am me. I am me. When I feel truly centered, all my dreams can come true no matter what the outer circumstances of my life look like. Maybe my pain is perfection and I can move forward knowing it is just what I need today.
Mindy Arbuckle, E-RYT and founder of Maitri Yoga Center, has been practicing and teaching yoga since the late 90′s. She loves spreading the knowledge and heart of yoga in an accessible way. Her deep love of yoga enables her to be straight forward, compassionate, caring, peaceful, dedicated and generous in her life and with her students. By listening to her readers, students and to herself, she is able to apply universal knowledge to practical goals of this world including health, family life and business. She believes in the power of yoga for every person and is skilled at finding the right yoga practices for each individual rather than a student fitting into a particular style of yoga. She is fully committed to being a healer, teacher, wife, mother and yogini while remaining down to earth and connected to source.
Editor: Seychelles Pitton