Use Your Practice To Get You Through
I've had a hard couple weeks. I'm dealing with some health problems from an unknown cause. The unusual symptoms scare me, and they're relentless. Sometimes it's not so bad, and I'm able to stay positive. Other times, fear and worry slip in, or I feel depressed. It's stressful to see my husband worry, and to deal with doctors and insurance and testing and money.
But these things happen in life. We all have ups and downs. Thankfully, as yogis, we have something very special we can turn to when times get tough: our practice.
My practice has been my rock and steadfast friend during this time. I may not be able to do my full practice, but just doing light movement with breath and meditation has been so grounding for me.
I have to thank Ashtanga yoga teacher David Garrigues for reminding me of this. When I first fell ill, I almost didn't care to practice. Then I read what David had to say on his Facebook page:
The techniques of yoga exist to help you ease your suffering...The lineage sprang up to help us get through the inevitable hard times with more grace and awareness.
Without practice and mental strength dark states can overwhelm you and cause you to make increasingly poor unhelpful choices. A person who is hurting needs a new vision and new direction and the power to make new choices. This newness can be won with a tiny shift in perspective or also it can require larger changes. Practice gives you the skills to withdraw within and see your pain and sadness and the mistakes you are making in perception and in relationship to the outer and inner world. You can also look within and find your power, know your ability to center, and do what's right for you and the situation.
This resonated with me because the mental part was the hardest part of what I was going through. I thought, "Oh yeah, I can use my practice to get me through this," and it has. I am so thankful for yoga because it grounds me and helps me see things for what they really are. And the reality is, I am blessed beyond measure. I have so many more things to be thankful for than I do to be concerned about. It's hard when things are up in the air and I don't know what's going on with my body, but I have no reason to assume the worst. Deep down, I believe health and well-being is our natural state, and I believe I'll get back there soon.
So the next time you're facing a hard time, remember you can use your practice to get you through. If you're still breathing, you can do yoga. Even if that's just a meditation or conscious breath work.
Here's to the ups and the downs that shape us and make us even better on the other side.