"In the process of identification, powerful obstacles arise."-- Yoga Darshana
I had two surgeries in November. Needless to say, this has put a bit of a damper on my asana practice. In Yoga, the obstacle of illness or sickness is called Vyadhi. This obstacle, however, has given me new opportunity for growth. Vyadhi reminds me to stay in the present and accept where my practice has to be at the moment. There will be times when my asana practice will be strong and regular because my health is good. There will also be times when the other aspects of yoga need to take precedence because my physical limitations do not allow me to practice asanas, or perhaps just specific asanas. These times become an opportunity to maintain presence in my body while focusing more on the other 7 limbs of Yoga. Even while laying on my bed, I can practice asana in my mind, recite Mantras, and lay in meditation. I can practice jnana yoga--the Yoga of knowledge-- by reading sacred texts.
When I feel up to it, I am given the chance to continue the presence of my body through slowly moving in to asana practice... starting with restoratives, and gradually increasing my strength using props. What a great way to maintain focus on how my beginning students might feel!
What I love about Yoga is that the Mat meets you where you are. Where you are can change from day to day-- even moment to moment! The challenge of the asana practice then becomes working to accept what you can do right now. It is not focusing on what you could do or what you will do... you just do what you can now and you don't HAVE to be or do anything more.
The more I practice yoga, the more I realize just why we call it "practice." You practice on the mat what you need to practice in life. The practice of Yoga reminds me that it is ok to just be where I am...feel what I feel. I don't have to be brave or strong, even when others say that I am. I have learned through this that the real bravery is being present with all that arises, even when unpleasant. In receiving my heart condition, I was offered an opportunity to practice my humanity and acknowledge I do not have to be anything but what I am right here and now. My lesson in 2009 was that in being brave enough to be present, the acceptance of being gives birth to strength....to wisdom...to peace... to trust...to truth.