Finding the time to sit down and think about my profession as a specialized massage therapist and as a viniyoga yoga teacher and therapist sometimes brings me to a stand still. Writer's block is probably the proper description.
The more that I teach the more I begin to glance at the edges of understanding the complexities of the body electric. To begin to understand the many things that come together to produce problems in our bodies, be they trauma from a variety of sources, illness, lack of use or over use, improper use. All of these produce stress. Stress, we need it to survive, but as a steady daily diet causes mayhem in our body.
Did you know that pain causes you to be depressed or if you are depressed you may up your pain levels. No fair! Here we go again creating a vicious circle. And where do you turn to unravel the wicked web that we are blamed for creating. When pain is the primary focus of the mind, how do you change that? Sometimes the modern way doesn't always help. When you can't sleep, you will not improve as quickly as you have been lead to believe. Opps!
I realize that I may go against the grain when I stress : Less is more. For years, I'd plead for less pressure on my sore areas, and I'd get the response: Oh! That shouldn't hurt!
Well guess what it did hurt. I'd leave worse than when I started. So my personal experiences with pain did change my focus in massage and yoga. It took me about 2 years into my teacher training when I began to understand effortless movement. I couldn't always repeat the process but I had experienced that Ah Ha moment. It was from that point on that my focus in mastery was effortless movement. From there, I began to notice a change in my chronic pain levels reducing.
Friday has become one of my favorite days. I really enjoy my 8:15am class at Lohse YMCA. I so appreciate the group of people who show up each week for my class. They are just wonderful. It is very rewarding for me to see the changes in all of them. Getting over the hump in life's road can be hard, as I well know. I'm the first to say, it doesn't happen over night,but it can happen.
When injured, you never know how long recovery might take. I wanted my aches and pains to go away quickly with my first broken foot. That didn't happen and with the healing process, I became more and more protective of my injured limb. I soon discovered that the broken foot came with a sore knee and an especially sore hip. It was also accompanied with with fatigue and frustration. First a chip fracture from stepping in a covered hole,followed by another fracture simply caused by walking 4 weeks later. How do you heal a broken spirit?
My next major injury as taken years to begin to balance my strength throughout my body. The things I can do today have taken a lot of practice, patience and a general refusal to give up. Okay, so now you know how stubborn I am. The more I teach, the more I look for the language to bring awareness back into the body. When I was in PT, I was so frustrated at not being able to do the simplest exercises that I was given. The harder I tried, the worse I felt. I felt a failure around my recuperation from my injury. What was wrong with me? Nothing! What was wrong was not understanding the nature of my injuries fully.
I turned to yoga to rehab my foot,leg,hip and back. I also was blessed to become strong enough to able to practice massage therapy again. My focus in massage was directed by my own healing process. I had a lower leg that could not stand touch. I had a hip that ached very day and could keep my up half the night. Bringing the gentleness of visceral massage combined with good palpation skills, the gentle focus of yogic movement and breath and my massage therapist being willing to follow my directions; change happens.
Through the instruction of Gary Kraftsow, Mirka Kraftsow,Claire and the rest of AVI's training staff, I have continued to learn the precious gems of yoga. Yoga is not a exercise work out. Learn dharana, which is focus or concentration. Embrace the eight limbs of yoga. Respect Ahimsa, non violence to all living things which starts with you and how you treat yourself. Learn the fine line between babying an injury and getting an injury to heal through proper use of the body. If you physically can't do something then think about and imagine doing it first before attempting something new.