I just finished month six of yoga training. Yesterday ended with a full rainbow over the city. It was what I needed after a challenging weekend. Yoga teacher training can bring up a lot of stuff and there are often things to face that are difficult and feel impossible. As I looked back at month six from last year, which also seemed to have some challenges, I was reminded of what Melissa told us, “you are stronger than you think you are.” I realized that I am stronger than I think I am and the challenges help me grow as a teacher and in my practice.
This weekend’s impossible was another set of inversions. I will never do inversions because they are not worth it to me. I’ve tried in the past, done them, and then my sight was comprised. Fortunately it has cleared up each time but standing on my head is not as important to me as seeing is. There are steps and preparations for inversions that do not take you fully upside down, however. They can still be a challenge and this weekend challenged me quite a bit because my knee felt like I had a knife driving in it most of Friday and Saturday. I’m not sure what the issue was since I hadn’t done anything. It may have been weather related. I’m not sure. But it made it nearly impossible to do anything which was quite frustrating.
Figuring out how to deal with the pain, even when I don’t do it well, will make me a better teacher. If I can understand my own pain, how to address it, when to push and when to modify, then hopefully I will be better equipped to help students who face pain. I tend to be able to tolerate pain but over the past year I have noticed that I am a bit more cautious than I used to be. I try to figure out the edges and where to stop instead of trying to push more and ignore it. I have figured out some ways that I can make adjustments and ways to modify practices but those don’t always work. It takes time and experimentation.
I thought about modifications and accessibility quite a bit this weekend. There are many ways to teach and to practice that are still beneficial and can help people with various chronic conditions. A short encounter in the elevator reinforced my passion and purpose in this practice. When I was leaving the hotel on Sunday, a man entered the elevator with a large bag of ice in a ziploc bag. My thought to myself was that it would feel good on my knee. He saw me glancing at it and said, “Insulin. You have to keep it cold.” I acknowledged that I knew about insulin and we exchanged a few more remarks about type 2 diabetes. He ended by telling me how much he hates the black marks from the needles. It was only a few minutes but took me back to my reason for beginning my health degree, for continuing to fight my own battle, and for pursuing my yoga training and other trainings. I want to work with people who face challenges, who think they can’t because that is what they are often told and come to believe. There is hope and it comes in small steps and brief moments. I hope that I can share that with others.