I’m back in physical therapy for my hip. I find that my yoga practice informs the experience: the body awareness I’ve built up in yoga class has enabled me to apply new movement strategies quickly and effectively. That’s not to say it’s been easy for me, though.
Some of the therapies I’ve been working on were physically painful – trying to get stuck tissue in my body to move around requires intense efforts. As a younger person in my mid-20s, physical vulnerability is a challenge I don’t often face. The loosening of the stuck parts of my body brings up emotions of instability. This discomfort, the opening up, is part of the healing process.
I am aiming to embrace this challenge. When I go to any therapy, mental or physical, it often feels worse before it gets better. But that’s not a reason to skip it. I think there’s an everyday bravery in showing up and facing the discomfort of vulnerability – of life – head-on.
In my yoga practice these feelings of physical vulnerability show up in many ways. When I’m the first person in the room to fall out of a pose, I feel it. When I have to skip a pose I want to do because of an injury or limitation, I feel it. When my body is tight or my muscles start shaking, I feel it. It’s part of that voice in my head that tells me I’m not good enough.
When my focus is on how my body isn’t living up to expectations I am not practicing gratitude. Gratitude invites me to see and celebrate my efforts to grow and heal instead of believing my body is failing me. It’s brave to engage with any challenge; physical challenges are no different. Embracing my body just the way it is is good enough for me.
Questions for reflection:
- Think of a physical challenge you’re facing or have faced. How did/does it make you feel? What did you do to face it?
- Take some time to think about 5 things you can do with your body that you are grateful for.
- Think about something in your yoga practice you’re having trouble with. How can you reframe this as a challenge rather than a failure?
This article was provided by Katie Pizziketti as part of a her monthly series, Attitude for Gratitude, in which Katie will explore using gratitude to cultivate a mindful and positive active lifestyle. Join Katie for practice on Sundays at 12:30pm.
Yoga is a treasured part of Katie’s fitness lifestyle. She uses it to build strength, flexibility, and body awareness which complement her interests in running, weight training, and interval exercise. Katie is using yoga to improve her range of motion and wellbeing in ways which were missing from her other exercise routines.
Katie developed an appreciation for accessibility – creating things that can be used by people of any ability level – after several years of working with adults living with serious mental illnesses and other limitations. Her belief is that almost anything can be achieved with the right attitude (and modifications). She loves helping people find their own doable pose that is just the right amount of difficult. Her high-energy classes focus on becoming stronger and stretchier with a smile!