September 30, 2013

Injury as Our Teacher. ~ Jennifer Radhika

photo credit: Flickr Creative Commons

“You don’t have good luck with bikes.”

My oldest sister wrote after I texted her pictures of my latest (although not greatest) bike injury. Yes—I have had a few bike-related incidents, all of which when I was riding my bike:

1. My front wheel was hit by a car on my beach cruiser in Los Angeles – minor physical injuries and my front tire is no longer pink on the beach cruiser;

2. Falling off my newly bought used mountain bike the first time I took it into the mountain – no physical injuries, only mental;

 3. Don’t remember much, but it involved my beach cruiser, yet again, a bike basket, and my yoga mat – ambulance, emergency room, face-plant, chipped teeth, and concussion;

4. Second attempt at the mountain and falling off my other mountain bike—resulted in scrapes on my knee through my good old Lululemon pants (I kept the pants as a souvenir);

5. Most recently, which was yesterday, a sideways fall onto the concrete as I attempted to side up an inch without turning—major scrapes about .25 inches deep on my knee through my non-Lululemon pants—bruises, lots of bandage changes, and sobs.

So it’s true—I haven’t had the best of luck with bikes, but honestly, I get up time after time and  it’s been an awesome ride thus far and I anticipate more to come.

You see, I learned to ride a bike as an adult, a feat in my books. I ride my bike, rain or shine and as much as I can to work 

as I’m lucky enough to do so. In spite of the crazy drivers, pedestrians, and other road hazards that I encounter, I absolutely love the feeling of the fresh air in the morning against my skin.

I see people walk their dogs. I marvel at people’s gardens. It’s really a part of my meditation for the day. It’s almost a necessity. However, when an injury arises, it simply is inconvenient, truth, but completely and utterly inconvenient.

As a result of the fall, I was unable to ride home on my bike. I walked with a limp. I gave my evening yoga teaching gigs to other persons, I felt bad for myself. However, when injury does arise, I have learned:

Get up. It’s not the end of the world:

  • Accept what has happened;

  • The injury is  a teacher;
  • Try again, and again and again.
  • Repeat.

So rather than teaching a yoga class, I took a class last night (with my own modifications), bruised up, writhing in pain (that’s drama) and all. In a group practice, it is very easy to get caught up in comparison and competition.

“I can do this and everyone else can’t…I’m a rock star…Why is that person able to do that?…” so on and so forth.

But then, what’s next? You end up on your own mat with your own practice comparing yourself to yourself—how you practiced yesterday, how you should be practicing. How much are we focused on the practice of now? As such, I took it upon myself as a test—I surrendered my ego to the best of my ability and learned how to refine the practice in a group setting.

Practicing with injury is one of the greatest teachers. It’s humbling.

I began an inquiry and investigation in my body, mind, and emotions. I was fully present in avoiding further pain and investigating current pain.

I dove and breathed into the emotions of pity and pain. I embraced the bit of shaking from my body releasing the trauma. Every time an injury arises, I take it as an opportunity to practice Ahimsa.

I was so present that time flew by, and next thing I knew…savasana.

The next morning, I arose out of bed. Business as usual, but with tender care to my new teacher: Sthira sukha asana.

Rather than taking a rushed three minute morning jog, I walked leisurely, soaking in the fresh morning air, and giving thanks for my legs and feet. I practiced a gentle practice focusing more on the strength of my upper body.

Thank you arms, hands, shoulders, and more. And when all was done, the big decision arose. My commute to work involved a choice between a car ride or a bike ride in the fresh morning sun.

Guess which one I chose?

 Like elephant bicycle on Facebook.


Ed: Dana Gornall

Photo credit: Flickr Creative Commons


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