Wow it has been a long time since I have sat down to write a blog, life has been so liberating and busy all at the same time. Do you ever get that?
My girlfriend and recently moved to Bali, which has been so exciting and a big dream for us for a long time. Even though we have the whole day to pretty much do as we please, the busyness of your mind turns up the volume when you actually slow down. I am starting to get past the noise of my mind and piece things together and get back to working on sharing more things.
I never thought I would be writing a blog on the other side of this injury and in such a positive life changing manner, but here we are! I have been practicing yoga for coming up to 9 years now, well it was at least 9 years since I first stepped into a class, and of course I was overwhelmed with all the usual concerns of first entering a class, but what I never really struggled with was my flexibility. I know, *breaking news* a yoga teacher admitting she was flexible before she started practicing yoga. I never really liked to admit this, as I felt like it took away from all the hard work I had put into practicing, now I realise it doesn’t, not at all I still put in all those hours and dedicated time to my practice each day. And when I say I was flexible, I mean I could touch my toes with ease, so once I got started practicing, deepening my flexibility became much more accessible. So what did that mean, in the yoga world where we are all one? Well of course, I was slightly more glorified by some of my teachers, so naturally gaining praise for my flexible body it almost became what defined me. So I carried on in this search for deeper stretches, more intense feelings, exploring where could my leg go next? I mean where else could it go once it was behind my head? Splits had become easy, so what now: over splits of course.
Im speaking literally from the mindset that imposed on me that more flexibility meant I was better, you will totally understand this if you practice yoga. Yoga also brought me many other things, and my intention wasn’t only flexibility, though I want to show how it took over at times.
Imagine for a second a rubber band, fresh and new and imagine pulling it. Got it? Imagine now an old rubber band the type that’s stretchy but seems like it might snap with the next pull , that’s how I started to feel like an old rubber band. 5 years into teaching, I felt as though my body had started to give up, and I was getting this consistent pain in the top of my hamstring, to be honest, I had felt the pain many times before but this time it was so painful. Now I wasn’t all bendy Wendy, I worked on my strength in my yoga practice and I had also taken on a personal trainer 5 x per week (right? because I totally needed that), alongside that I was waking up every morning and going for a run (are you crying for my hamstrings), eventually and I cannot pin point the exact moment, but the poor little tendon at the top of my bum (the yoga but) said ‘No more beck’. Well it didn’t actually talk. But I couldn’t carry on. No more could bendy beck touch her toes. I couldn’t do any weights (though I tried for a while), any yoga class I attended made me cry, with pain and also frustration.
So for a while I had my self a little pity party. Wallowing in my poor little self with my injury. Of course being the meta physical thinker that I am, I knew this was beyond just a physical injury, I was being told to slow down. Not only that, I was being sent a gift to shake me out of what had now became my normal movement patterns.
You see as human beings, we are naturally inclined to do things that we are good at, that’s just facts. I know I am not alone in this, you do it too. We all do. Not only do we do what we are good at, we also tend to put ourselves in boxes, mostly metaphorically but also literally and we have a nice little box that we call a yoga mat in which all of our movement must stay, and in our minds we have been taught how to move inside of this box. What happens when we get outside of the box? Developing and exploring new movements helps to create new neural pathways in the brain, we get to explore new parts of ourselves when we explore new movement.
My injury led me to start looking outside of yoga for answers, and what I learnt was that as a physical practice, yoga was pretty behind in the movement scene. What had been created was a series of imitations of positions, passed down from person to person. And though the philosophy and practices have so much depth, much of that was being lost in this imitation. I hadn’t learnt how to properly look after my joints, or how to actively stretch. Once I started doing these things, the pain started to leave my body. I can safely say I am a recovering passive stretcher and I have not consciously passively stretched in at least 6 months, and my body feels much better for it. I won’t get into how most yoga systems have totally neglected the fact that half the world bleeds once a month, or has babies, or recovers from having a baby, that’s for another post.
The injury has actually little by little began to shatter the systems I once relied on for answers, now I rely on myself. Though I am grateful to the discipline for allowing me to dig a little deeper into myself, I am so glad I stopped digging and began to just walk around and explore myself.
So that’s what I have been doing, exploring new movement. Im still at the beginning of that journey, but here in Bali is a great place to be with many amazing forward thinking teachers who have already broken out of their boxes. If they were ever in one!
If you’re interested in learning the basics and most safe ways to begin to explore your own body I am launching an online course in Feb send me and email for more details or get me on instagram !
Happy healing and as always I hope you find some inspiration here.