It’s Just For Now, Not For Forever

When I first started yoga I was a mess. I had banged my body up pretty bad in dance rehearsals, long distance runs, rollerblading accidents, and a ton of other mishaps that tend to happen to the accident-prone. When I looked in the mirror you could noticeably see one shoulder higher than the other, my left hamstrings throbbed throughout the day with tendonitis, and I could only accomplish the beginning steps to any of the postures in the Bikram Series.

This was around 2007. I had started practicing in 2005, but honestly I was not committed to it. I would practice on and off when I felt like I needed a stretch or wanted to detox. I by no means thought about the yoga “healing” my body or that it could change my life the way it eventually did. But as I truly leaned into practicing more and more I could see how my body was balancing out and getting physically and mentally stronger.

Eventually my shoulders and hips were even once again. And I remember thinking while I waited in line at an audition right after I had completed my first 30-day challenge, “Holy crap, are those my legs?” They looked stronger and leaner than I ever imagined they could. Yoga is awesome.

But the throbbing ache in my hamstrings continued to bother me. Too many times throughout my musical theatre career I slammed my body into the splits when I wasn’t warm or ready to and I was pretty convinced my left hip and leg were going to scream about it for the rest of my life. I was invested in this injury. It defined who I was and where I had been. A war wound from my life on the stage.

Because of this injury I had convinced myself Standing Head to Knee was something I would probably never accomplish, that going all the way back in Fixed Firm was for people who were not athletically inclined, and grabbing your elbows in Wind Removing Pose was only for people with tiny, tiny thighs.

But then there was a shift. I started to realize that this injury was actually something that could heal. It felt better if I went to class and each day I was going further and further into my postures, accomplishing goals I never though would be achievable for me.

It was only last year that I honestly let the injury go. It was not a part of me anymore, or my future. It was all in the past and there I would like it to stay. Yes, there are days when my left hip and hamstrings put up a fight, but I don’t let it hold me back. I listen to my body and do what I can, but I know I am not my injury. I am much more than that.

Everyday I hear from my students about their injuries. We all have something we’re dealing with. If it’s not physical, it’s emotional and most likely it’s both. Even the students who come in and think they have nothing wrong with them start to notice tiny imbalances in the body that need some work. The key is not to be invested in the injury. It’s just for now, not for forever.

What most of us don’t understand is it’s going to take some time and a commitment to your practice to really truly heal in every sense of the word. A couple of weeks ago I remember saying to a student, “I think you’re on track to getting your head to your knee in Standing Head to Knee Pose sometime within the next year.” They just looked at me like I was nuts. A year? Not next week? Or even next month? Well, maybe. I have no idea when it will happen for you. But what’s the rush? The yoga will just offer up the next challenge and then the next. That’s what it’s designed to do.

Having a yoga practice is a lifestyle and a commitment to yourself and your health. Have faith that you can heal – that the power to do so is within you. And it’s time to discover how powerful you truly are.

If you enjoyed this post you may also enjoy reading:

Learning How to Learn

Stretching Your Boundaries

Correction Connection

9 thoughts on “It’s Just For Now, Not For Forever

  1. Man, oh man, what good timing you have! I have had four knee surgeries on my left knee and have little by little worked on realigning my body. My most recent experience has resulted in excruciating pain in my right knee. This occured after my chicken attempt at realigning my hips. Our intructors are fantastic about focusing on areas of the body to work on which build on each other. The most recent focus has been on putting weight in the hips instead of the knees. SO here I went, putting weight in the hips and lifting/letting go of the weight in my knees…or so I thought. Atonishingly, my attempts created extreme pain in my right knee! Frustrated and in pain, I swallowed my pride and took two days off. I pounded some probiotics and iced and the pain subsided enough for me to complete a double this morning. My instructor really put some attention into adjustments that really helped but during the second class the pain started to return. I left frustrated and mildly grumpy but then I read your post. The words of my instructor and your words of inspiration made everything click! Despite the surgeries being done of the left knee, I have always viewed my right knee as the injured one and treated it very poorly as punishment. I was unwilling to let it heal and to let it go. When something is trying to shift, the past will only hold me back and that is what my knee is saying! The shift is only half-way done! So thank you for your help and encouragement. I so enjoy reading your posts 🙂

    • I’m so glad you enjoyed the post and that you were able to turn your thoughts around about what’s going on with your knees and hips. Sometimes balancing the body back out can be quite painful – hang in there and know that is long is you believe in the process you are on your way to healing yourself. Thanks for reading!

  2. Thanks for another inspirational post Tori! Getting ready to get back in the hot room in the next week or so, post hip replacement. Your message was exactly what I needed, it IS “just for now, not forever”!

  3. “what’s the rush?”–love this! I tend to feel like I’m in a rush to get where I’m going in and out of the hot room. It takes an effort to just be, but it’s worth it. Thanks for the post!

    • So glad you liked it and could relate! Being mindful and taking the time to concentrating on just being in a given moment is no small thing and harder than one might think, but yes, totally worth it. Thanks for reading!

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