Recovering from major surgery was more intense than I thought. My ego set unrealistic expectations. No matter, my body was having none of it. During the first week, it was tough to do more than take short walks. By week two, I was doing restorative poses.
Fortunately, yours truly has daily meditation practice. Sitting each morning allowed me to get out of my own way.
Week three was life changing. I spent six days doing a Therapeutic Yoga teacher training hosted by Integral Yoga with Cheri Clampett and Arturo Peal. Showing up each day studying, practicing and teaching TY in a safe and sacred environment was just what this yogi needed.
Karen Mandell is a great teacher who said, “Soft is the new hard.” While I love the powerful practice I’ve cultivated, there’s need to embrace the notion of slowing it down. Therapeutic yoga does just that.
You may be asking what exactly is ‘therapeutic yoga’? Here’s a brief definition from the website Therapeutic Yoga.
Therapeutic Yoga blends restorative yoga (supported postures), gentle yoga, breathwork, hands-on healing, and guided meditation techniques combined in such a way that it is an excellent choice for those who need something gentle yet effective for bringing the body into balance and reducing stress. Therapeutic Yoga is a deeply meditative experience – it provides the opportunity to step away from the busy-ness of the outside world and access the deeper wisdom that resides within us.
This training has shifted my thoughts about how I practice and how I teach. Cheri and Arturo are gifted educators and yogis who allowed us to explore what it means to create a space to heal. Whether it’s healing from a physical trauma or emotional trauma, therapeutic yoga is a way to yoke or unite our bodies and mind through a gentle yet powerful practice. Still recovering from abdominal surgery, I was my own perfect test case. There were some poses that I couldn’t do. And for the very first time, I allowed myself to celebrate that.
That’s what healing is about. Giving permission to be still. Celebrating getting well.
If I can care for myself with such love and support- just think of how much I’ll be able to give to others. I’ve added a few therapeutic poses at the beginning and end of the vinyasa alases that teach. It’s been a welcome addition. Working hard and challenging the body can be fun and invigorating. Just as important though, is to honor the idea of being whole and nurturing the self.
Teaching this style of yoga is my calling. I wasn’t looking for it. And it’s made me realize that more school is on the horizon. More change I hadn’t planned.
The thought of acupuncture scared me, but becoming a yoga teacher has opened me up to the idea of alternative medicine. This is mostly because I am doing more yoga than I have ever done in my life. When I wake sore I wonder if it’s from too much yoga or if my qi is out of whack.
I did a little homework and figured out the best teacher is experience. With an appointment made I waited for the needles.
Acupuncture wasn’t what I expected. After a consultation about my health I was told to undress. The acupuncturist said that I could expect to feel warm on certain parts of my body. The whole process of of the needles took about 5 -10 minutes. She centered the needles around my neck, specifically my left trap because it’s been giving me some pains. Needles were also placed at my ankles and wrists. Inserting the needles felt like tiny pin pricks.
And quietly she left. Laying face down I felt…oddly splendid. My eyes were closed and it felt like the world went a little darker. Within about a minute or so I felt warmth radiating in the center of my back, neck and shoulders. It reminded me of laying out in the sun. After a quick check-in to make sure that I wasn’t too hot, once again I floated back to the sunlight.
30 minutes later I emerged feeling mellow, balanced and relaxed. It was suggested that I come back for weekly sessions to get the best benefits. I wasn’t that sold but I glided off to 2+ hours of hot yoga.
Looking back, I can’t say whether it was a good or bad idea to got straight to yoga after the acupuncture. After my first 90 minute class I thought I’d be spent.
I wasn’t. The second class was downright delightful.
Seriously. Seriously. Seriously.
I don’t know if it was the endorphins or the acupuncture. I’ve never done 2+ hours of hot yoga before nor had acupuncture.
I’ll be doing both again but not back-to-back. I think I may want to enjoy the relaxing mellow vibe of post acupuncture.
This is yoga. And when it needles me, it still feels good.