Why Am I Giving Myself the Cold Shoulder?
I have a shoulder injury. Or maybe it’s neck pain that radiates. Or maybe the pain starts at my clavicle and goes halfway down my arm. Or maybe it’s nothing. I haven’t actually gotten it diagnosed or gone to a doctor to see what the problem is. Not because I have a fear of doctors or anything. I think it’s because I have a fear that my doctor will tell me not to do yoga or not to do certain poses in yoga. It used to only bother me when I did things that required me to move my arm back (reverse table or a twist with arms outstretched for example). Lately it has moved to include a larger section of my right body. I like to go to studio yoga classes several times week. I enjoy that environment and the majority of my personal asana practice is done there.
Yesterday morning I went to class and the instructor (Mandie) was talking about the concept of Ahimsa. Ahimsa is a Sankrit word meaning not to injure, do no harm. The instructor talked about how this also applies to doing no harm to ourselves. The idea of having compassion for ourselves and treating ourselves with loving kindness. I started to think about my body and how I was treating it in my practice. Why was I so determined to do every vinyasa offered and never just stay in down dog or child pose? Why do I always go for chaturunga to upward facing dog and not take go to the mat and take cobra even though repetitive chaturunga dandasana hurts my arm lately? When I teach a class I always say listen to your body. When I go to a class I always hear listen to your body. I believe this idea and think listening to your body is such a key concept in practice. Yet, I am not exactly following my own belief and advice. Is it my ego? Most definitely it has to have something to do with it. But if I truly want to be in the moment on my mat I have to hear my body and have compassion for it, I know this and yet I still sometimes resist. I had such a great experience in that class yesterday morning. It stayed with me throughout the day. Sometimes we all need gentle loving reminders. I am so thankful for the great instructors who show them to me!