I haven’t been able to move much these last few days. I have tremendous pain in my back. And it’s my own fault. I forgot the point of yoga.
You see, yoga isn’t flexibility or exercise. It’s unity with your own soul. It’s being present in the moment. It’s connecting with the idea that we’re not human beings having a spiritual experience, but in fact spiritual beings having a human experience. Yoga is that moment when we know that we’re spiritual beings, and we play for awhile in the human body, very deliberately, feeling fully the sensations that having this body brings. It’s a union of breath and movement, consciousness and compassion. Yoga is the awakening of awareness.
But that day I wasn’t being very aware at all. I’d sat at the computer all day long, and decided I “should” do some yoga. The truth is that I did need to move my body, but instead of making it a moving meditation, I was chatting casually with my mother as I went through the poses. I was stretching without watching my breath. I wasn’t anywhere near the present moment. I assumed my body was warmed up when it wasn’t and pushed myself into a pose that it wasn’t ready for. And now I’ve hurt my back.
I’m a yoga teacher. I should know better, and I do know better. Just as I know that my body is my best friend; it always lets me know when there is a problem. And it did so this week. I need to live more in the present, in the now. I have an opportunity to grow even more deeply, to reaffirm and recommit myself to the idea of what yoga means in my life.
I got too much in my head and so my body now has pain to bring it back to attention. Be still, it is telling me now, as I lie flat. Be aware of this moment. In pain, you cannot think past the now. Pain is like a mandatory BE HERE NOW! memo. And for that I am grateful. I would like to think that next time I will get the message in a gentler way, but we are always having to course correct in life. You find the path that works for you and you get on it, and then you sometimes have to check the GPS to make sure you’re still going down the right road.
I’ll chant some Ra Ma Da Sa for healing and some Guru Ram Das for comfort. I’ll recite mySo Purkh. And I’ll do what I should have done on the mat. I’ll connect with my breath. I’ll be here now. There’s nothing much else I can do, and for that matter, nothing much else worth doing.
Thank you, Life, for these gifts you bring. Some more painful than others, but always worth learning.