October 22, 2022

Yoga & Chronic Pain: The Beautiful, Aching Process of Surrendering.


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I used to be that person who always thought yoga was the answer.

And in many ways, I still believe that. I believe yoga can be practiced anywhere, at any time, depending on one’s definition of yoga. To me, yoga is its exact translation: to unite—breath to movement, mind to body.

Yoga doesn’t have to be rigorous asana or almost-impossible inversions—and that’s something I’ve had a hard time letting go of. I practiced Ashtanga-style yoga for eight years, and then, on my ninth year, something changed.

My body started to hurt. My wrists became weak and the chronic back pain I’d dealt with since high school started to flare up more often. I simply cannot bend in the ways I used to, and it pains me to let go of the high-intensity flows that used to light my fire.

But as I’ve grown, I’ve learned to accept that creating attachments will only bring me more pain, more suffering. So, as my body changes, so does my definition of yoga.

But let me tell you, it’s much easier said than done. I miss my old practice. I want to flow on my mat and get upside down and fold deeply into myself, but I can’t.

Instead, I lie on my mat and breathe gently into where it hurts—and I trust the process. I trust that, at this time in my life, this is the practice I need—to be still, to listen, to hold myself. And so, I do.

But it’s hard.

And so, I’m writing this to anyone out there who is also struggling with chronic pain. I see you. This sh*t isn’t easy, but we have to keep listening to what our bodies are telling us. I believe there’s always a message.

For me, the biggest lesson I’ve learned from my pain is that nothing will ever be the same—change is constant. And so, we must not attach to one single definition of anything in life. Because when we attach, we don’t allow for the wind to carry us—and that’s when the seeds are planted.

And so, I surrender to the pain. And I trust that, like everything in life, this is only temporary.

And instead of trying to change my body to fit the yoga, I change the yoga to fit my body.

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