Turning pain into strength


This morning was one of my strongest practices for this month. It appears my back is beginning to settle down which is a huge relief. Whilst I feel, in part, disappointed my back gave me so much grief this month, I’m actually really grateful for this experience. In this mornings practice, I realized I had a control over my body that I’ve not experienced before. Guruji noticed this also. I had an awareness of the subtle sensations I’m unconsciously too lazy to notice at other times. How I lower into chaturanga, how I transition between jump throughs and jump backs – it’s all changed. And this is only because the pain has been so bad that unless I consciously activated every muscle in my body, especially my pelvic floor, then I was unable to move at all.

Sitting with Guruji on the floor, he would remind me that pain and injury only come due to a weak pelvic and abdominal contraction. He assured that upon learning how to maintain the simultaneous control on these parts of my body that the entire neuromuscular system would relax. That there would be no pain. And he was right. Every day I have worked hard to develop this strength, but more so my conscious awareness of these parts of my body, and this has been an immense challenge. But the fascinating thing is, now my back is stronger and the pain is subsiding, I realize my practice has become stronger, more focused, more controlled than ever before.

It is very easy as a teacher to give advice. To assure others that they can achieve great things, or overcome difficult times. But I believe this advice is of little value or bears little weight if it comes from a person who has not faced the challenges themselves. I’ve cried many times in the past month – pain related mostly. Even the fetal position became near impossible for me to manage. This doesn’t happen often, but it does happen at times. A fluctuation as Guruji would say. And although it is not fun to feel pain, it is a lesson. A lesson I can pass onto others, where I can teach from this place of understanding. As we advance in our practice, we tend to forget what it’s like to be a beginner. To feel tightness, weakness, anguish. So I feel at ease with the month I’ve had here. I’ve not a missed a class as I needed to learn how to work with my body despite it’s temporary limitations. And I assure, all limitations we face are only temporary.

I fly home this Sunday and am so looking forward to seeing all my wonderful students. I have a Beginner Workshop commencing on the 1st of February that I cannot wait to get started with, particularly considering my very humbled way of practicing. An opportunity to meet people where they are and support them as they venture into this profound practice of yoga.

There is so much beauty in our imperfections. And whilst they can be extremely frustrating and upsetting at times, the reality is – they are what they are and we need to come to a place of acceptance. From here, life is brighter and more hopeful. If we dwell, then the opposite is true also.

So I urge you, if you are new to yoga or if you have an injury or illness you feel is holding you back, take a step forward. Don’t give up on your body and don’t allow illness to keep you from where you dream to be. How you dream to move. How you want to live.

Sending hugs to you all,

Jessica xx

P.S. See you soon!