Archive for February, 2012|Monthly archive page

Yoga & Archaeology

I came to yoga in part because I wanted to get rid of pain in my neck and back. It was so bad that I couldn’t turn my head fully to the right, and I hobbled out of bed every morning feeling like a very old woman. My first hundred or so attempts at Downward Facing Dog felt awful. “Do people really enjoy this? What am I missing?,” I wondered. Something about that awful pose and the rest of the class hooked me in, though, and I kept going back. Then I bought a mat and started practicing at home. Now I’m amazed that I teach others how to lessen their pain through yoga!

That first yoga class was the beginning of an undoubtedly endless inquiry into how my body works, what helps it feel better and what doesn’t. It hasn’t been easy; as one area of pain would dissipate, another would arise. Along with learning about good body alignment and how to strengthen and open my body, I had to learn to be patient with myself, to dial down the volume on that harsh self-critic, and to just love myself. During this time, one of my teachers told me that everything I was going through would make me a better yoga teacher. I think she was right.

Working my way through years of neck and back pain turned out to be an opportunity for inquiry, and for developing compassion. Instead of focusing on the frustration, I tried different practices and modalities until I found what works best for me. I learned so much along the way, and I’m no longer in pain.

As a student and teacher of yoga, I’m a lot like an archaeologist who gently, carefully, patiently digs through layer upon layer trying to fill in an historical narrative. I can choose to view myself as a priceless, unique artifact that is worthy of tender loving care. Hopefully, I can teach my students to nurture that same attitude for themselves, as they strengthen and open and grow. The life and the joy are in the inquiry itself, as we investigate the physical, emotional, and spiritual aspects of ourselves.

To view my schedule of classes, please check out my website:  www.newspirityoga.com