What is a Practice? Or should I ask what is your practice? To me, a practice is a deepening of your awareness and how you live in the world. A shift in your consciousness. It can be a combination of action, fire/energy and an authentic intent. It is something you keep in your heart and use to flow through your day like a guiding light. It can come from anywhere and at anytime.
My Practice was a morning ritual of intention setting, yoga asana, pranayama and mediation. That was before my fall. Now I find myself asking, “Do I even have a practice anymore?”
Over the past few months, my practice was feeling smooth and I was really feeling the pure goodness of it running through my mind, my body, my heart. The way it flowed into my days and weeks and life. I was spending much of my time going deep within and noticed how my yoga practice was opening dark rooms that I had closed doors to. I was drawn to welcoming these emotions and wanting to use yoga to help me heal.
I was so dependant and grateful for my practice at this time.
During this time, around four weeks ago, I was playfully running around on the beach with my family, enjoying life, feeling strong and confident, yet emotional, having been opened up and confronted with things I had been burying. Suddenly I slipped in the sand and damaged my sciatic nerve. I suffered great pain from my piriformis muscle and greater trochanter and down the nerve into the back of my knee and biceps femoris muscle.
Had I just ruined everything I had been working so hard on? I asked myself many questions of why. My initial reaction after dealing with the physical pain was immediate anger. I was so frustrated and upset that I had an injury that was going to hold me back from my yoga practice. I was also leaving in one week on a yoga journey to Bali, Indonesia. Tears were flowing and I was doing everything I could to ease the pain so I could get back on my mat the way I used to.
Every day I would attempt Surya namaskars, my usual sequences or anything that wouldn’t hurt. My options were minimal and I was losing my practice. I wasn’t connecting to my breathe, to the present moment or to myself. I was feeling sad.
It wasn’t until I arrived on the Island and relaxed that something in me awoke. I had finally realised that my practice wasn’t over, it was just different. I accepted and took a breathe of gratitude. My teacher, Dr Monica Gauci, reminded me that my anger towards the accident will only make it worse, along with many helpful ways to overcome pain and improve my new practice. Her advice really resonated.
I felt very emotional, unsteady and shaky when I arrived back on my mat for another attempt at returning to my practice. It was time to become a witness, take a step to the side and adjust my practice to suit me as I am now. This is not a step back its just a new beginning. A realignment.
It is a difficult thing to adjust to our “now”, a lot of the time, but once you have given permission to let it come, let it go, then it will flow.
As Ashtanga Yoga teacher, Carmela Lacey said to me, “To understand the process of emotions we go through is a step towards healing. Injury is a great teacher.”
I had rediscovered a new practice and shifted my awareness to the present moment.
One step at a time.