Last year I blew out my left knee in a skiing accident. It was absolutely devastating. My immediate thoughts hovered frantically around concern about getting back to teaching yoga, wondering if my knee was ever going to be the same, even stressing about how I would pay my bills. The incident shook my center and rattled my being. Reality set in when the results to the MRI came back – a torn ACl, medial and lateral meniscus.
I decided to have surgery. After two weeks of immobilization, the bandages were removed and what a shock. I didn’t recognize my own leg. It looked awful. Memories of my mother, post car crash, came flooding back from 13 years before. The nervous tension, post traumatic stress, the anxiety. More fears and questions started racing through my brain. How will I recover? Will I ever be free from pain? Will I learn to walk normally again? My husband looked at me and said, “Adi, this is your yoga, do your yoga.” He left me for about an hour and I started breathing. I began practicing a calming breathing technique that immediately returned me to the moment. My fears and assumptions about the future began to dissolve as I came back to center.
From that day on the healing really began, and my injury became my teacher.
When you have a physical limitation, a chronic illness, pain, or an injury, sometimes you have to learn how to get out of your own way. Instead of harping on the negative, it can be an opportunity to grow awareness and sensitivity within your body and mind. By really tuning in and coming back to the moment, you can learn so much about the way you handle resistance and/or difficulty and begin to cater to your needs. Your level of compassion expands significantly for yourself and others.
Martin Luther King said, “The measure of a man is not determined during times of ease and comfort, the measure of a man is determined during times of difficulty and challenge.” Our challenge is our therapy if we are willing to open and learn from the experience.
I have read all of your comments and feedback, and am so touched and inspired by how much our classes have encouraged and impacted so many. In particular, I read about limitations that some of you are working with, and how you have progressed by really listening to your body and modifying your postures.
This is yoga. It is not forcing, it is not critical, it is not competing with yourself or others. Yoga is listening and feeling, even when what we hear and feel is difficult. From that space we become our own teachers and learn more about ourselves than we could have ever imagined.
It has been one year since my surgery and I still struggle with pain and physical limitations. I have allowed myself to slow down and accept the change that is present in my body. One lesson learned from this obstacle has been to truly uncover the intricacies of how yoga really works. For me it is not about perfecting the physical body, it is about being present. From there I can listen; and through listening, I come to know myself.