How Yoga Freed Me From My Pain
Yoga is not what you may think
I used to think that the definition of yoga was what I saw in the yoga journals; something for the super fit and flexible perfect bodied beings. Since I did not consider myself such, I did not have yoga on my personal to do list.
Until one day, when I realized that I needed help with a lot of pain that I had sequestered in my body. My body was tight and sore, I felt like I was living inside a cage. I never felt comfortable in my body. Since I had not had a major injury or anything like that, I assumed that these aches, pains and stiffness were a normal consequence of the body. I knew many people who were also in varying degrees of pain, and seemed to compensate by coming to live with it.
I have learned that although there is great strength and grace in accepting our conditions whatever they are, there is also the possibility to be free of aches and pain. Even beyond that, I discovered that the body is equipped to heal from injury when it is given what it needs to do so.
Yoga is for everyone
I was extremely fortunate to meet a Buddhist Lama who taught the profound practice of Restorative Yoga – a gentle therapeutic style of Hatha Yoga, called Bliss Yoga. Suddenly an authentic and tangible world of yoga opened up. I did indeed consider myself part of the “everyone” category, so I decided to give it a try. My mother is a yoga teacher in South Africa where I grew up, and so intellectually I already knew the documented benefits of yoga.
However the few times I tried it, I was so tight and inflexible that I formulated the opinion that I could not do it. Looking back its funny to see that the thing that was right in front of me, was the thing which I had to find by taking my own journey.
I came to find it from a place of genuine longing for relief.
Although I didn’t realize it fully then, the relief I was wanting was not only from my painfully tight body, but also from stuck emotions that I had buried inside me, as well as a tight mental state. All of these aspects woven together, as the body, heart and mind, inseparable as they are, had solidified into the overall pervasive experience of physical pain. I enrolled in the teachers training course for Bliss Yoga, and began to practice it. After just one class, I already felt the profound sense of relaxation and some relief from my rigid holding pattern. I could not believe it. It did not take very long before my whole experience of my body had changed.
I came to feel a softness and openness in my previously painful physical body. It was like something had kindly massaged the tightness, quietly held my heart, and with awareness helped me to release the tension in my mind.
It’s a quilt of cushion
I feel passionate about sharing what I experienced because restorative yoga is a hidden jewel. I love to reveal the essence of basic yoga for everyone. It is wonderful for giving the body what it needs to heal naturally. It is the quilt of cushion that we can melt into, while at the same time being structurally supported.
I experienced a transformation; from feeling that I lived in a hard painful cage of a body, to being
Not only pain free, but I felt a joy, sense of calm and comfort in both my body and mind. It has been so profound for me that I am inspired to shout it out from the mountain tops, to tell everyone I meet.
There is a physiological science behind relaxation and the unraveling of pain, it is not an unknown phenomenon. In India and Tibet the yogis have known for 2,500 years how to work with the body in this way. Western science now has studies to support it.
The mat has been rolled out for us, all we need to is step on it one small toe at a time. The rest will happen on its own. That’s how it happened for me.
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