Time for me to reflect on being humble. Two days ago, I re-injured my back which I had injured a couple weeks ago. Back injuries and I have a long history. My family claims it is a trait we inherited from our dad. But throughout the years, I will occasionally have my back go out on me. Through chiropractic adjustments and acupuncture, it usually remedies itself.
The initial injury happened a couple weeks ago. After a chiropractic adjustment on Wednesday, a massage on Thursday, and teaching three yoga classes, I pulled something in my back in a very easy pose. Luckily for me, I was going to acupuncture that day, so Joyce treated me, and I was already healing. Not quite two weeks later, I was probably 90% healed. So on Wednesday, as I was doing the heavy cleaning around the house, I re-injured my back while vacuuming. I was actually able to teach a yoga class afterward, though i did take it easy though some of the poses. However, bu the next day, things had gotten worse, and I knew I needed a treament. Since acupuncture wasn’t scehuled for another couple days, I decided to see my chiropractor, John, who knows my back all too well. I had taught my morning class, again, taking it easy, and then had a sub while I went to the chiropractor. That first adjustment wasn’t too good. I walked out feeling worse than when I went in. I actually taught another class, but I knew there was no way I could teach my evening class. It took me several minutes just to get in and out of the car. Sitting, getting up, and getting down, are the most painful experiences with this back issue. The second adjustment brougt me some relief, and with ice on my back and Ibuprofin in my system, my evening was a time for healing and taking it easy.
This morning, the pain is back. Two steps forward, one step back.
As an active person who makes her living off of physical movement, this is a humbling experience for me. I don’t often cancel classes, especially due to illness. I have taught classes while not feeling up to par before. I know how to modify poses to meet my needs. So if I actually have to cancel a class, well, let’s just say, it’s bad.
Now those of you who know me, know I look for the lesson in all of this. Ironically, I am not the only yogini dealing with back issues right now, and so I have had several students come up to me in the past couple weeks and say, “How do you know that I needed to modify some of my poses today?” Well, I literally felt them. I often pick up pain issues from others in my classes. I don’t always identify whose pain they are, but I will say, “If you feel [tightness] in your [hip], change the pose [this way].” Those are sympathy pains. But I know that I can distinguish whether the pain is mine or someone else’s just by asking. I might mentailly say, “Is this my pain or am I picking up on someone else’s pain?” If it is someone else’s pain, it will go away immediately. So the interesting thing that has been going on since my first back injury a couple weeks ago was that, when I asked this question, my pain would lessen. Not go away completely, but decrease. Which has me wondering about the real significance of my back pain. I wait for those answers to come. I can feel the presence of those answers, but I am not ready to call them up yet.
Being humble means stepping back from our own expectations and taking a few moments to reflect. It means releasing our ego for the greater good. It means asking for help (I find that so difficult to do, as my husband reminded me last night). It means slowing down. All of these things are difficult for me.
And so today, I have called in a sub for two more of my classes, and I am hoping to teach my last class of the week. I will pay attention to my body and reflect on the significance of back pains in myself and in the world at large. what is my experience teaching me about this point in life?
Most importantly, today I will heal.