Most people come to yoga for very specific reasons. Some come for the mental steadfast meditation, other find the movement takes away the aches and pains of living. But what about the pain that gets passed down from generation to generation? My dad had knee surgery, and so did my brother. I’ve had problems with my knees as well. 10 years ago I took a tumble skiing, and heard my knee pop. I tore my meniscus, some inner cartilage that holds your knees in place. My choice was rather than to undergo surgery, I would use my yoga practice to rehab my knee. I did so successfully, although some might argue a little slower than surgery, but my yoga practice got the job done.
Sometimes despite our best efforts, some generational pain will come knocking at our door. That is where I employee right action and right movement. Right movement is a combination of strength building and flexibility. Right action is looking deeply at my life (in my meditation) and deciding what I’m doing (similar to my dad and brother) that is causing the knee pain. You might think that is a bit over dramatic, and that the skiing caused the meniscus tear, but I believe that the body has everything it needs to heal, and that my emotions and actions of what I say and do can indeed cause harm to my body. Whether or not you are a religious person, Jesus said much the same; that things from the outside cannot harm us, but things from within our own minds, hearts can harm us.
Therapists do such a good job of this, but they miss the key component of right movement. The body is a tape recorder, and will remember every action done in the past. Simply talking about your problems will help you gain insight into making some right actions of changing your behavior. But, lets say you are depressed, and your chest is collapsing. Talking about why you are depressed will go a long way in healing, but the physical body always remembers your depression, and your chest collapsing, so the chest will influence the mind to hold onto that depression. But if you make some brave decisions to change things, and employee right movement of opening your heart and chest with the practice of yoga, the depression cannot have a hold on our body anymore.
We must face the truth of our behavior if we really want the pain to be gone from our body and minds. We must “weed” out the undesirable actions for better actions that are based in love. Believe me, when I started yoga, the furtherest thing from my mind was reviewing my life. I just wanted a good workout. But, the yoga we do has a way of creeping into our dark crevices and bringing light to see who we really are.
To open our hearts to others is a beautiful thing. We are called to do this. To love one another just as we have been loved by others. When you come to my class I use physical therapy, strength building, and the tools of yoga to gain the flexibility you need to keep that pain away, and usually a sprinkling of yoga philosophy.
See you on the mat,