‘The self is not something one finds. It is something one creates.’ – Thomas Szasz
Two nights ago, I didn’t push or challenge myself through my yoga class because I’d banged up my knee that afternoon. I hadn’t paid attention to where I was walking and I tripped and bashed both knees and my right palm, which are all the common places affected when I fall down. I found it extremely tough to get into cobra and upward facing dog as we moved through the vinyasa, so I was gentler on myself because it was too painful to do poses I can usually do. I definitely felt a difference, particularly since I did not leave the studio with the pleasant buzz that has accompanied every other class from the exertion and effort I have put into the practice. I wasn’t as stretched out and I didn’t feel that I had done my body much good in ‘playing it safe’ because my knee hurt.
I pushed myself harder when I went back to class tonight and felt much better. I love the head to toe and inside to outside stretch and release that comes from yoga. I feel like I have worked my internal self as well as my external self. I feel like it makes my body not only healthier, but happier. I lay on my back in the happy baby pose and felt the comfortable buzz begin to settle in, and I was pleased that, though the class had been very hard, I had pushed myself through it (and remained mindful of my knee, which is still slightly sore). It felt very good to make up in effort for what I had lacked in the previous class because the payoff was unbelievable.
Practicing yoga has been a very humbling experience. It has made my weaknesses and limitations very clear to me, but it has also motivated me to keep working in this new way in order to work through them. Participating in group classes has also humbled me because I can see that other people have strengths and weaknesses just as I do, and that no one has a perfect yoga practice (and never will). Yoga has made me more aware of my own body and my own place in the world among other people, which doesn’t often happen when I have individualized therapy like private pilates classes and acupuncture.
It was definitely worth it to push myself tonight. I’m really happy I did.