You Said: Reader Comments on Yoga as Healing
It was most evident when I gave birth to my son last March. At 41, and with a history of two previous miscarriages, the statistics cautioned me and most health care professionals warned me about being irresponsible when I chose an all natural birth plan. My labor was four hours short and very tolerable. When I arrived at the birth center I was uncertain I was even in labor. Turns out I was 8cm dilated. I gave birth without interventions or drugs. It was the practice of the theory I had coached myself through as I practiced each pose during the preceding months. "I am creative. I am strong and powerful and capable of allowing my body to do what it was designed to do naturally." I contemplated the experience of pain and my mental relationship to the idea of "pain." I had my yoga ball, mat, candles, incense, music and birth partners including a doulla and one of my yoga teachers present. It was the work of setting conscious intentions and relaxing into the present moment. Our birth experience felt celebratory! It truly was the miracle of life for baby, his Dad and me and for all the family and friends who participated.
We cannot control all life's outcomes, but neither are we victims of life. Developing an intimate relationship within- body, breath and being is the greatest gift we bestow on ourselves and others. Yoga is not a religion or a god. I find it to simply be a most reliable and helpful tool throughout this lifetime process of learning and knowing Self.
When my father was on his death bed I was diligent about keeping up with my practice. I knew I had to keep my peace of mind in tack and the few minutes each day I could sneak in a bit of serenity really helped my keep my sanity during a time that was stressful. Those few minutes each day allowed me to see the beauty in death and allowed me to let go of a man whom I loved with all my heart. That week was so difficult, yet it was filled with joy, beauty, love and most of all peace of mind thanks to my practice. I know I can always go to the mat for that.
I was diagnosed by a physician with the above noted condition in my left shoulder. He indicated that my choices were limited and that he wanted me to have cortisone shots as the next thing for me would be a frozen shoulder. I am a registered massage therapist and this is not something I would ever undertake. I was on a mission to get my shoulder sorted as my livelihood depends on by body being in top condition.
I started taking Iyengar yoga once a week about 3 years ago. I had been working out prior to discovering yoga all of my life, however, I was mostly shortening my musculature with weight training at the gym. I was initially put off with yoga as I didnít think that it would be much of a work out. Boy was I wrong!
One of the first things that I noticed when I first started class was that the eyes of my elbows in downward dog were not facing each other. Slowly but surely after a number of classes they were staring at each other. I was hooked! After much practice my shoulder is as good as new thanks to yoga. My goal now is to become as flexible as I am strong (which should take a while!) I now am practicing Bikram yoga for the time being but I believe Iyengar is the best place to start for anyone who is a beginner as it really teaches you a lot about proper alignment (amongst many other things).