Ever have a day where you say to yourself, “Wow!! I’m SO proud of myself for doing that!”?
I most definitely had that kind of day this past Saturday.
For the past 2+ years I’ve had a pretty static life. There will be progress, but then it always seems that progress results in 2 steps backwards. BUT! In the past 6 months I really feel like those steps backwards are getting less and less! It’s not so much a tango anymore, but more like a slow and steady walk forward. (I’ll take the slow, so long as it keeps propelling me forward)
Whirl Magazine, a local Pittsburgh mag, started the One Whirl Yoga Fest in 2012. The first year I was unable to attend because I had had knee surgery about a month prior. Last year I began practicing everyday, first with my chair, and eventually my mat, with a big goal of making it to the Yoga Fest. Well, my knee didn’t cooperate so well and that didn’t end up happening. I was truly, truly upset last year because for months I had my sights set on making it to the event. I felt like my body had severely let me down. I vowed to myself that I was going to make it in 2014.
I kept making slow progress in my yoga practice, in relation to the poses I could do because of my knee, and in September was really excited because I finally felt like I’d be able to keep up in a class. I started attending classes and really enjoyed the sense of community I was also gaining from my practice. Then, as life would have it, I was told to stop doing mat yoga in attempts to try to prevent my femur from collapsing. I completely understood why I was told this by my doctor, but was severly disappointed. My doctor advised me I could still participate in chair yoga on my own and also suggested I try water therapy.
So, for about 4 months I listened to my doctor’s orders and stayed off my knee. Once I started having digestive issues I knew I had to get back on my mat to help heal my body. I would take it easy on my knees and only do what my body allowed me to do. Part of healing yourself is really tuning yourself into your body and listening to each and everything that it has to say. I KNEW in my heart that I had to do this.
It was Spring time and I knew the Yoga Fest would be coming up again. My practicing was taking off. I was slowly working my muscles up to support me in my warriors again, I was strengthening my arms to allow me to flow from chaturanga straight into up dog, and I was even working on inversions! I made a promise to myself that even if I wasn’t feeling well I was still going to go to the event – at the very least to meet other people, check out the vendors and to participate in some mindfulness classes.
July 26th. That was the date. One Whirl Yoga Fest. I had it in my calendar for months. I knew my mind was mentally strong enough to get there, but I just didn’t know if my body would physically allow me.
As life would have it, for the past month I’ve been feeling really ‘off’. My fatigue has been at a high and I’ve truly just not felt well. And, on top of it, my knee pain has been much more than normal. Could it be a result of my practice? Could it be a result of pushing myself to be more active in life? Could it be a result of battles inside my body?
I think it’s been a little of everything.
My friend Britt, @Hurtblogger, hashtags the phrase ‘motion is lotion’ a lot. Another Instagram friend, @RheumAndBoard, uses the phrase If you don’t move, you fuse. And they’re both right. It’s a double edge sword. If you sit around doing nothing you hurt, but if you move around you hurt. You need to find your body’s balance.
I know that my body needs my yoga practice. Mentally, physically and spiritually.
The days leading up to the Yoga Fest I prayed everyday that I would feel well enough to make it. And, as life would have it, I felt pretty shitty.
To me, it didn’t matter. I was getting to that event even if it was for 10 minutes.
Once the schedule was released I knew I was going to have to pace myself. There were going to be 5 different tents of classes going on and it seemed that from 6am until the closing ceremony at 6pm I wanted to do at least one class an hour.
The day before the yoga fest I had tickets to go to the Summer Safari at the Pittsburgh Zoo. They have different stations of food, drinks and entertainment set up throughout the zoo and it’s definitely a big social event for the city. I was really nervous because I wanted to go and have a great time, but I always wanted to spend all day ‘yoga-ing’ the next day! Because it seems like nothing is ever easy, I woke up Friday feeling HORRIBLE. I mean, bad. By noon I was ready to call Marc and tell him I wasn’t going, but something told me not to do that. This was a big weekend for me. Not only socially, but personally. Before the past 2 years I had my days jammed packed – I was always out doing something. These two events were something I would normally have loved and looked forward to and for me to have felt comfortable enough to buy tickets to go to them I already knew that I had made huge strides in my life. Mentally my mind was back to myself, but I still had trust issues with my body. As the day went on I rested and conserved my energy as best as I could. By the time Marc picked me up I realllllllllly didn’t feel well, but I had already made the effort to get ready and I was going to that fundraiser damn it. Even if it was for an hour.
I really wish I would have felt better, because I truly think I would have had an amaaaazzzing time. That’s not to say I didn’t have a great time, because I did. I just had a really hard time staying in the moment. My body kept reminding me that it would much rather have been in bed than having a vodka water, laughing with friends, eating delicious food from some of the top restaurants in Pittsburgh. I didn’t last the whole event, but did have an enjoyable time. I went home feeling accomplished and happy with myself that I was feeling confident enough to start putting myself back out there.
The day of the event I woke up, setting a few alarms at different times to see how I was feeling.
It took me a bit to get out of bed, but once I did I was off. I FELT GREAT!
Well, as great as you can feel while having autoimmune arthritis.
Getting to the event right before 9, I was able to jump right into the perfect class to start off on. It was called ‘Riding The Wave: An exploration of breath & spine’. We learned about breath in relation to the curves in our spine. It was a gentle and wonderful class to start off on.
As I bent down to roll up my mat once the workshop was over, I noticed a lady bug crawling on my mat. I cannot even remember the last time I saw a lady bug! I was feeling so happy and grateful for making it that I couldn’t help but smile. Thank you universe for showing me a sign that I was in the right place 🙂 #spiritJunkie
The next class just reaffirmed my belief that I was in the right place. Kate, from the Himalayan Institute (which I love BTW), not only explained the chakras, but ways to activate the nadi’s so that you can tap into the 75% of energy you don’t normally have access to. I gained some valuable tips on helping tap into this energy so I can aid even more in healing myself!
I attending so many great classes, which will probably result in other posts (especially the Heal Trauma with Yoga class), but I cannot even explain to you how happy and excited I am that I made it AND PARTICIPATED in the event. Some times we really just need some quality life ‘wins’ to propel us to even want to better ourselves further. This was definitely one of those wins I needed. I learned some amazing yogic techniques for healing and I can’t wait to incorporate them into my daily practice. I can’t even count the number of times I felt the universe giving me a hug during the day – almost as to say, ‘Congratulations’.
When we accomplish personal victories like this I believe we need to embrace and celebrate every single moment of it. I’m pretty sure I’m going to riding this yoga high for the next week.
But as for now, I’m going back to relax in my bed.
My body needs, AND DESERVES, it!