I want to share what my yoga has looked like for the past two weeks.
My knee is not quite doing its healing thing as quickly as I’d hoped. One initial ER trip, one orthopedist visit, and one MRI later, we are still not sure what is going on. I only have one more day until my follow-up appointment, where we can actually look at the MRI with the orthopedic doctor, and hopefully find out some answers. Until then, I am on the couch, counting down the hours. This waiting game would be a lot more challenging without yoga. Yoga is what’s keeping this typically active girl sane right now!
Despite the frustration of my situation, there is a lot I can find to be grateful for. I am very grateful my injury wasn’t worse, and that, for the most part, I am pain-free. It is also a wonderful opportunity to be present with what is, and really explore patience (more about this topic later, I’m sure). Since this is the first significant injury I’ve ever had, I am given the chance to really understand what it is like to be less mobile and bendable in a way I never could before (a real benefit to me as a yoga teacher).
And also, to my surprise, my hurt knee has renewed and deepened my yoga practice. In the midst of my “off-season yoga,” I have all of a sudden found myself steeped in the practice once again.
First of all, since I am spending a lot more time sitting with my leg elevated and lying down than I’m used to, by the end of the night there is a pain in my lower back. This gets me up and out of bed quite early in the morning. So right there, one of my most difficult struggles, just getting out of bed, becomes moot. I welcome waking up, moving my body.
Since I’m up early, I have plenty of time to stretch out my quiet morning. I start by making some warm water with lemon. I then take the mug over to my dining table to cool, while I start my standing practice. It’s funny how I have developed a new routine to my morning practice, and how quickly I have come to rely on its ritual.
I then take a few deep breaths and tune in while standing, since sitting on the ground is still a challenge. I could probably find a kriya or two that I could do with some slight modifications, but I have just been doing a series of warm-up poses instead, which has felt right.
If you’re looking for a gentle yoga practice, especially if you have any knee issues, or for a good warm-up, you may want to try this.
Here is what I do:
- Mountain pose –Standing tall, I take a few breaths to feel my body grounding through my toes, testing my weight to find an okay balance between and within each leg
- 1 forward bend, remaining in the position for several breaths, fingers reaching to the floor, until the backs of my legs and lower back are feeling nice and stretched.
- 4 more faster forward bends in rhythm with the breath (inhale arms up, exhale swan dive them down to the floor)
- Downward dog –from my forward fold I am able to walk my hands out into a downward dog (triangle pose in Kundalini terminology). I was so relieved to discover, after a few days, I could comfortably do this stretch, one of my favorites.
- Side bends -inhale right arm overhead, exhale bend to left side, inhale left arm up, exhale bend to right side
Chair Poses (but not “chair pose”)
- Seated in a chair beside my dining table with my good leg planted on the ground, my other leg is elevated on another facing chair, or on a low box in front of me. My meditation pillow is now a cushion for my foot. I lean back against the chair and sip my lemon water between poses.
- Sitting forward fold – with both legs up on the chair in front of me, I bend towards them. Sometimes I hold the pose, sometimes I inhale to half-way up, and exhale to the deeper bend, repeating this rapid movement, giving a more active stretch
- Spinal twists, hands on my shoulders, fingers face forward, thumbs behind, inhale left, exhale right, 1 minute
- Shoulder shrugs, inhale up, exhale down, 1 minute
- Neck rolls, 5 on each side
And that’s the hatha portion. I can’t say I don’t miss a more vigorous practice, but that’s where I am. And that’s where that patience practice comes in.
I’ve been doing a combination of different meditations that add up to a total of 31 minutes. (After 31 minutes of meditation all of the cells and rhythms of the body are affected. The endocrine system is balanced. The chakras are balanced.)
- Sometimes I start with five minutes of breath of fire, if I’m feeling like I need a little more energy, otherwise I end with five minutes of silent meditation or bi-furcated kirtan kriya
- Then, Meditation to be Rid of Internal Anger. This is my new 40 Day Meditation. Another choice made by my knee, since I was originally doing a 40 day kriya that I can no longer physically do. I was planning to do this one after that. The universe said, nope, let’s work on that anger now, not later.
- I end with 11 minutes of Healing Meditation (Ra Ma Da Sa), and send that white healing light to my knee, as well as others around me that could use this healing energy.
More on Meditation to Be Rid of Internal Anger
This is a 15-minute long, two-part meditation. In the first part, you use strong arm movements with clenched fists, chanting “Har.” The second is a still and silent meditation with hands calmly folded at heart-center. Read the full description here.
I am only on Day 12, so I don’t have a lot to say about it yet. Some mornings I really feel like I’m going deep into the anger in the first half. Cracking into that space of neutrality in the second half has been a bit more challenging, but there are moments.
Now, you may wonder why I chose this meditation. (It’s probably something I’ll be writing more about as the 40 Days continues.) I wouldn’t say I’m a person with anger issues, but often, if there is a negative emotion to go to, anger is it for me. My gut reaction to many situations is anger. This typically mild-mannered gal may have a bit of the Irish temper in her, that is, of course, and unfortunately, most often reserved for those she loves most. I did notice yesterday, during an instance that I would have normally gotten angry at myself, I stopped mid-thought and changed course. Could it be working? I had the realization that the first and worst anger is towards myself, and that’s the anger I need to let go of first as well. I’m getting there.
Do you have a story to share about an event in your life that changed your yoga practice? I’d love to hear about it. Post in the comments below.
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