I had my first yoga therapy session this afternoon and I faced something I have avoided thinking about, talking about, and writing about: my focus is on ‘getting better’ rather than ‘feeling better’ and I don’t see myself as a whole person or allow the process to address me as a whole person. I use my method of cure to fix my disability rather than using every treatment and therapy to bring me a more holistic sense of wellness and happiness. I am so entrenched in ‘making myself better’ that I feel I can only accept myself when I am better, and I have denied ‘treating’ other aspects of myself, especially my emotional self.
The yoga therapy I had today brought me back to some necessary mindfulness and forced me to pay attention to my spirit while I worked to heal my body. The therapists with whom I worked had me work from a more honest and open place rather than a strictly clinical perspective, giving me specific words of affirmation to pair with the exercises. This approach allowed me to address the stress that I am under; I expressed that I cope with the stress by denying how intense it actually is.
I went into the yoga therapy with the intention of figuring out which yoga is best for me so I can lose weight and manage my stress – ashtanga, iyengar, bikram, or vinyasa – but I discovered that I have to incorporate a more restorative and therapeutic element to whatever physical activity or treatment I practice; I have to see myself as a whole person to be healed rather than just a damaged body to be worked on and fixed. I have fought the necessary ‘spiritual’ element of my rehabilitation process because I want to focus more on an athletic approach to neurologic change, but in denying that spiritual element, I am denying myself the full benefit of healing.
One of the therapists told me that – for now – I cannot focus so much on weight loss, rehabilitative yoga, and other athletic practices that I use to fight my way out of my cerebral palsy. She advised me to focus on restorative yoga and to see any other therapy as stress management, spiritual healing, and restoring things I have denied myself. She advised me to focus on soothing and feeding my inner self before I turn any more focus back to my physical body. I agreed, but I have chosen to align both intentions and to approach the work in such a way that helps me get better and feel better. Each therapist asked me what I wanted out of that session. I said that I wanted to find the most suitable yoga for weight loss and stress management, but they also teased out of me that I wanted to just . . . feel better. They said that was something they could do, and they did.