About four years ago I took a tumble! This was no ordinary tumble, such as missing the bottom stair or tripping over a curb. This was the kind of tumble that you see in the Matrix: Trinity kick butt style slow motion. The kind that you can almost in a prophetic way see the end of...and the end is never good!
One day I moved an old computer monitor from my upstairs office to the curb. It was one of those M.O.U.S.'s (Monitors Of Unusual Size). You know the GIGANTOUS ones from the late nineties. Remember those from way back when? Our house at the time was built in 1950, when apparently there were no safety concerns involving stair cases, therefore it had no railing or anything for that matter to get in the way of an individual carrying a M.O.U.S. down it's steep path! Long story short...from about 5 feet up I missed my footing. I proceeded to fall OFF (not down) the stairs while holding this huge, evil outdated thing... and I was falling head first. In an attempt to LIVE, I hurled the M.O.U.S onto the couch as I was falling. After what seemed an eternity I landed in what can only be described as "thread-the-needle" pose. (See picture below)
This was not one of my finer moments! And I...(shocker here) was not Trinity from the matrix. If I had been, things would have gone WAY different! I stayed there for a moment, examining my body as though something might be missing.
Nope, it was all there, but little did I know this would be the beginning of chronic pain and back problems for years to come and yet at the same time an important turning point in my yoga journey.
I had actually impacted the floor hard enough in a twist to cause a significant slant to my body from my collarbone down to my hips. This took about six months to get straightened out but the pain persisted. As a yoga teacher, this was a huge let down. I had to start teaching without doing the poses myself and my personal practice seemed to be stripped of all things beautiful and advanced(at least in my mind). This yogis ego began to show it's true colors.
After much frustration and mourning the loss of what I thought to be a more "advanced yoga practice" I learned a valuable lesson.
Yoga is not so much about the advancement of the body as it a practice of accepting the body exactly as is, with all of it's faults, beauty, brokenness and strengths. It's about boldly weaving through the paths and narrow bends of life...through progress & set-backs, gains & losses, without losing a grip on this wondrous gift of living.
Perhaps you are one of those people who needs to take a step back and be gracious, practicing non- violence toward yourself, both physically and mentally. Take a gentle yoga class go back to the basics and get in tune with your body. This may be what "advanced yoga" is in your case.
Or maybe you've been protecting yourself for too long and need to be bold and adventurous. Practice mindfulness but try something new. You will be surprised at how strong you are and how confident you'll feel. Just remember to honor the ebb and flow of life, be flexible in the mind and spirit not just in the body. Most of all Enjoy! Oh yea, and let some one else take care of those MOUS's.