After tearing the ligaments in my knee at the end of last year, I have had to change the whole way I carry out my own self practice. This experience turned out to be a rather amazing journey in which I have really had to learn to listen to my body.
After the injury I couldn’t just take it for granted that I could do my regular practice and do whichever posture I wanted as I had done routinely before my injury. I had to take a step back and learn to listen to my body and respond to what it was asking me to do. If I didn’t, I could have hurt myself further.
Every day my body is different depending on what I have been doing, eating, thinking, how stressed or uptight I am. My body behaves and reacts in a completely different way depending on so many hundreds of factors, so it makes sense that it doesn’t always work in the same way as it had the day before.
Now, when I approach my mat in the morning, I have to quiet my mind in every posture and listen to what my body is saying. Every day is different, some days I can do something a little more testing whilst the next day I can’t as my knee could easily seize up at any point unexpectedly.
In learning to listen, I am learning to let go of any expectation of how I want my practice to be or how it has been in the past. I am learning to let it be as it is and be present with whatever it is that I can do/not do that day.
I am now realising that this is actually an amazing lesson, a lesson that translates to many different areas of life off the mat as well as on it. It’s this learning to listen which I realize doesn’t have to be something I do only in my yoga practice. This is something that I am getting better at in every aspect in my life. For example learning to listen to myself in the morning. Do I really want to eat that or do I actually what something else etc?
When I take time to respond to what my body is asking me to do and not what I think my mind wants me to do, it’s amazing how many beautiful surprises pop up in the most unexpected places.