I took a few days off from yoga due to family obligations and felt a difference in my body right away. I felt stiffer, tighter, and more tired. Yoga has become such an important part of my life and so much a cornerstone of my identity that more than a week away from the mat felt like months. I knew that I would also struggle when I went back and that it would take a few classes until I relaxed into the practice again.
My first class back was surprisingly amazing and my second class left me resentful and embarrassed. I tried not to be self-pitying, but I felt ashamed. I won’t lie: my disability is a source of shame and embarrassment for me.
I am embarrassed that my disability is visible to other people. I am embarrassed that my mobility problems pose challenges for me every day. I am embarrassed that people feel the need to look out for me and take care of me. I am embarrassed that I can’t do things that other people can do easily. I am embarrassed that certain things have to be modified for me. I am embarrassed to be known for my impairment and thought of in association with my impairment. I am embarrassed that I haven’t yet been able to banish every trace of my disability from my body even after more than six years of committed work.
I wish I could write that I am motivated to keep working, but I’m not. I will go back to the mat tonight (and every night) and do my best with what I have in this moment, but I think I can allow myself to be sad.