We often feel as though the hand of fate is not kind. We didn’t get a “good” break. We got an old injury that won’t heal. That other people are “responsible” for the way we feel. That’s not the way it works. Everyday, we have a choice to make. A choice to eat healthy. A choice to exercise. A choice to meditate. A decision to either pop that pill to get rid of our headache, or to find the real reason we are feeling ill. It’s difficult. The path of least resistance is often a quick fix, (Pill, drug) that gives immediate results, but in a couple of months you are back to the place that feels worse than when you started. Yoga is not a quick fix, but with very regular practice, over a continued amount of time, it does bring you to a place much better than when you started.
This was my thought as I reflected on two events that happened over the past week. A client of mine choose to do yoga. She had been to yoga before, but very sporadically, not regular. At first yoga is difficult. She didn’t want to sweat, or work too hard, or do this certain pose that I knew would help her pain. I did the only thing I could as a teacher. Encourage, encourage, and educate on the effect of the poses, and of yoga practice. Something clicked this time, and she stuck with it. Last week in practice, I got her up in a headstand. At first there was resistance, “Ohh, I don’t think I’m ready for that!” As a teacher, I know when to back down, and when to push past barriers that stand in clients way, to which I replied, “Yes you are!” Afterwards, she said how different and good she is feeling since yoga. She also mentioned that the shoulder pain has disappeared. She left class with a smile on her face, slightly damp from sweat, feeling happy. That’s the “effect” of yoga practice.
The other event happened in our home. It was with a heavy heart that my husband and I decided to euthanize our beloved dog of 17 years, Sparky. She lived a remarkable life of happiness, serving our family with her tail wags and happy nature. Because of her flexible joints and sunny disposition, she was active up to her death. It’s never easy to make this choice, but I realized that she was ready to move on, and I was holding her here. She was my walking companion. Sparky was not holding on to her weight, and I knew she was suffering. It was the right thing to do. The worst thing about losing a dog is when you get home, and no one is there to greet you. Through this practice of yoga I have changed. Instead of feeling depressed, I began to realize how lucky we were to have her for that long. What a joy she was to live with. How she brightened our day, and lifted us up, even if she didn’t feel well. Oh yes, I still miss her, but my focus has shifted from poor me, to how grateful I really am. That’s the “effect” of yoga practice.
Yoga practice changes you. From the client with shoulder pain, (physical) to my own pain, (mental). It has an effect on every part of you: physical, mental, spiritual. My hope is for us all: to live as Sparky did: with much grace, vigor, and love for all, loving a long productive life.
See you on the mat,