Adventures in Yoga Teacher Training – Pain Shouldn’t Be Your Friend

chat

Years ago my right shoulder used to pop out of its socket. It wasn’t pretty and hurt like hell. Like Hell.

Like Hell.

Because I didn’t rehab it properly, dislocation happened more frequently and recovery wasn’t ever complete. Even worse, I got used to both the pain and the instability of a shaky shoulder. But I kept working out, kept pushing myself.  I didn’t want to change my routine or stop my busy life to deal with it.

Not cool. (Oh boy, it also says tons about my mindset at the time. Who in her right mind walks around knowing that at any moment she can be writhing on the floor, and not in a good way?)

On most days my right shoulder would throb. I subconsciously adjusted movements to avoid actions that would result in dislocation. It also had this way of popping out in inopportune moments, the most embarrassing of which took place at the gym as I walked to the shower (just wearing one of those ridiculously small sandpaper towels).

My foot slipped. The slip didn’t cause a fall, but my shoulder popping out and dropped my now naked butt (the handkerchief, I mean towel, fell off as I fell down) to the tile in what can only be described as the most horrible pain I’ve encountered. I could entertain you with the complimentary comments from the big EMS dudes, (which actually made me laugh, resulting in more shooting pain). I won’t, because being carried out wrapped in a sheet, in the middle of December to an ambulance is really, really hilarious and humiliating. Let’s not even talk about having to describe the the ER doc how I managed to show up without clothes- because to try and put anything on would have meant me screaming and injuring myself further. My dad came to pick me up- he had to bring clothes. Ugh.

I got surgery a week later.

Did my rehab like a good girl.

Years of trauma though, had reprogrammed my body and I avoided major shoulder activity during workouts. Another bad idea. Babying myself wasn’t smart. Sharp pain and constant injury shouldn’t be your friend in any workout but especially yoga. But you must challenge the muscle (with supervision if necessary) in order to gain strength.

Reflecting, I see that it was my ego working overtime.

If you’re not careful, Ego will have you living a life in pain.

Thankfully, yoga found me.

Both breath work and my asana practice have opened up my back and shoulders. Being kind to myself has allowed for emotional and physical healing. Weight bearing poses have improved strength. I’ve finally learned the difference between pushing limits and pain.

And still with all of these tools I still managed to push a little too hard when learning the full expression of Chaturanga Dadanasana. I blame excitement and not ego. Chaturanga is a fun thing to do once you get the hang of it. While I may have been strong enough to support myself, I hadn’t consistently been engaging the muscles around my rotator cuff. A few days ago I woke up with a scary familiar throb in my left shoulder.

Uh-oh.

The good news is that I am not the woman I was 15 years ago. I immediately tended to it. I’m looking for a great shoulder doc to check it out. During practice, the plan is to focus on precise alignment. And le sigh, modifications until I’m feeling up to snuff.

I’ve learned to honor where I am at any given moment. Yoga isn’t just the asanas, it’s what happens when I’m home relaxing or surrounded by chaos. By being in the present and acting accordingly, I make the best decisions. As a yoga teacher I owe my students that. We are all worth such reverence.

You can’t guide others through practice if you aren’t taking care of yourself.

This is yoga. And I love it. My shoulders do too.

Namaste y’all!

Advertisements

Adventures in Yoga Teacher Training – Backbends

Follow my blog with Bloglovin
 

backbend

Any movement/action that takes you out of your comfort zone has the ability to bring hidden emotions to the surface. It’s this way with yoga, particularly with poses that expose the chest and heart chakra. Fear, joy, happiness and anxiety can surge out of nowhere. It’s something that yoga teachers are trained to spot. Yoga teachers aren’t therapists, but it’s important to know how poses can affect you and your students.

There was lots of discussion about root causes of poses not being done properly and how a correction can be life changing and even overwhelming. No sooner did we have this talk that I had a correction done on my backbend. I’d been clenching my butt and lower back to keep myself supported. My feet were also rolling in and my chest wasn’t as open as it should be. All of this time I thought because I was up in wheel I was all set (One of the reasons that yoga teaching training is life changing- pose deconstruction).

backbendillustration

Fear is the mean girl of all emotions. She’s such a bitch. A frenemy. I’ve been trying to dump her for years. And just when I think I’ve settled into my relationship with Courage, there she is wagging her bitchy tongue. I’ve been saying for months that I need to start doing videos. Peers have said that it’s a great way to connect with people and that because of my life experience I might have something valuable to say. But I’ve been afraid to do it. Afraid that I’ll look silly, afraid I’ll look bad, afraid of ‘enter irrational fear here’. Hiding from this was pretty easy. I could focus on my blogs, throw myself into yoga teacher training and float along, that is until my backbend workshop. After the adjustment in my wheel pose, an icky feeling sat on my chest. Not pain. But fear.

I knew instantly that it was related to the video project. What I also know about myself is that it’s easy to be fearless when I know I’ll be successful. My feet are cold, frozen even when it comes to this next step. Maybe it’s because I’m really putting myself out there. It’s easy to write posts and speak to people in person, because that’s what I do. Holding that fear inside can really f*ck with your practice. And the craziest part is that you don’t even know it. Forgive my frankness, but I gotta call it like I see it.

Well, the pose feels better but now I have that video issue looming overhead. At least it’s not stuck in my hips, butt, back or heart anymore. Now to do something about it. I promised myself that I would do a video a few days ago and I haven’t. Fortunately, humiliation is still quite the motivator for me. It’s out there, I’ve told you. Can’t very well shy away from the challenge. Leaning into the fear. My pulse is quickening at the very idea. I know, I know- more reason than ever to sit in front of that camera and go for it.

This is yoga. And sometimes it’s icky. And it’s sometimes scary. But I love it.

Namaste y’all.