I often choose to do the gentler or more modified version of a yoga pose when I believe that I won’t be able to do the proper or harder one. The modified version of the pigeon pose involves me lying on my back and crossing my legs over each other, lifting them in the air to stretch the backs of my legs and my bum. I chose not to carry out the more challenging pigeon pose because I was afraid that I would hurt my ankle. The pose looked painful when I saw other people do it. Tonight, I decided to try it. I realized that it wouldn’t be part of the repertoire of yoga poses if it were harmful or painful.
I tried the pose and, once I relaxed into it, I found it challenging but not uncomfortable. I felt a much deeper stretch through my legs and glutes in the pose and was very happy that I took the literal and metaphorical step to try it. When class finished and I left the studio, I could still feel the stretch and I knew my body would benefit from it. I won’t lie and say that I will apply this perspective to every pose that scares me because there are certain poses I still don’t even attempt. They will only become doable if I try them and I am willing to fall down, fall out of them, look stupid, get up and try them again.
Even though I still struggle through a lot of the yoga practice, I realize that I trust my body more now than I ever have in my life. I can feel the positive effects of continuous yoga practice and I can feel my body becoming more flexible and less stiff. I have more trust that my body can heal and is capable of more than I believe it to be. I have written before about struggling to stay motivated because I don’t feel or see the changes in my body that have happened through doing different forms of exercise. I finally feel a difference through this yoga.
There are many times when changes happen in my body and I can’t account for them. I don’t know how or why they have happened or even that they have happened. People will tell me I have lost weight, I stand straighter, my foot doesn’t clunk anymore, or that my balance is better, but I won’t have felt or seen the changes myself. I don’t necessarily see changes in my body as a result of this yoga, but I feel changes. I feel more consistently relaxed and my chronic pain feels more manageable. I have finally found the missing piece that has been absent from my rehabilitative therapy from the very beginning.
In the film What To Expect When You’re Expecting, Wendy has a rough and uncomfortable pregnancy. She wants the pregnancy glow, but she doesn’t get it and is frustrated, unwell, and exhausted through the experience. When she holds her healthy newborn son, she says, ‘I finally found it. He’s my glow. He’s my perfect perfect glow.’ As cheesy as it seems, that’s how I feel about yin and vinyasa yoga. It’s my therapeutic glow.