healing powers of yoga

July was a remarkable month for me. I packed up my stuff in Taiwan, said goodbye to my fellow Taipei Ashtangis and beloved teachers, left my small pastry business, ditched the "not a student but not employed either" status to once again become a student at University of New South Wales in Australia. It is my curiosity of nutritional sciences and my spirit for adventure & exploration that has brought me to this entirely new city. It is a world that is upside down (I'm still trying to get used to the fact that it's so cold in August), a true melting pot of cultures (New York and San Francisco ain't got nothin' on Sydney),

If you practice yoga, you probably have experienced the amazing and incredible changes the body undergo on a day to day basis. Yoga is a practice that enhances your awareness of your body, emotions, and thoughts. A person who practices yoga regularly can notice the small effects that lethargy, restlessness, fatigue, sluggishness, sleep debt, etc., have on his/her yoga practice.

My body was in a rebellious mode when I first arrived at Sydney. About a month ago, I strained my sacrum and lower back from dwi pada sirsasana and yoganidrasana, and it got worse during the first couple of weeks in Sydney. So bad that I could barely bend forward. My sun salutations were done through gritted teeth, knees bent at almost 90 degrees, and upward dogs that looked more like baby cobras. I felt 80-year-old. Simple tasks like putting pants on that required lifting one leg then the other made me wince. Sitting sometimes felt uncomfortable either. Basically, any movements or positions that put weight on the sacrum were no-no's (don't get me started on shoulder stand and halasana).

Yet, I practiced. I practiced with the shortness of breath when I was in pain, and then reminding myself that I needed to lengthen my breath to relax the sacrum region. Each day, I started little by little--working my way through the sun salutations slowly, supporting my sacrum while bending to either sides in the trikonasanas and parsvakonasanas, bending my knees in all forward bends, and just accepting the feeling of not being able to touch my torso onto my thighs with no judgements. It was my lack of awareness that caused the injury in the first place, and I trust that this practice can heal me.

After a week of slow practice, I was 50% better. After two weeks, I was 95% better. I have once again brought eka para sirsasana back into my practice after more than a month of its absence. I am slowly reawakening my hip rotators to this extreme forward bend, and I am in no rush to get into dwi para sirsasana just yet. In time, everything will come. With trust, you can achieve.

This hasn't been my first experience with Ashtanga healing my body after a…journey of opening up the body. The poses that triggered the pain also healed.