Sunday, October 09, 2011

Bherundasana, post-knee injury...What all I learnt about healing

Finally, after six weeks of keeping off some of my fav asanas, here I am able to jump back into my locust (in the bherundasana version). I normally kick up with my left leg, so this pose was in the back-burner for the last six weeks. Finally I started trying it over the last two days and the kick did not give me the usual jatka I have lately gotten used to, from my healing knee. So, finally I can clamber back into this pose happily. It feels even better.

What the knee injury taught me?
  • That u cannot stop for pain.  To heal, u must move.
  • Don't miss the activities which you did before injury, and lament it, as if that period were over. Do not become so attached to poses that u feel a resentment about the injury. You must be detached even with your own practice to be able to feel that. For me, this has been a big learning experience that way since, earlier, if I did not practice for a day I would  feel unclean, arrrrgh and virago mad:) So, I learnt  a certain detachment from my own practice; and watched it surprised, as it came back into my life once more, with better awareness. This has been the biggest lesson then: feels somehow like unconditional love... there is so much poignancy in the latter:) So much more love... but then also that detachment. Strange and beautiful, this yoga of mine...:)
  • U must eat wise and well: zinc, protein, vitamin C, collagen supplements for joint recovery.
  • If pain comes, u wait for it to pass. Then move once more. We are defined by movement. Health cannot be earned by lying about. That bed rest actually hurts the injured part more than anything else u can do to it... My knee hurt the most when I laid down in the bed, and even now I know I have an injury only when I lie back... it is rather excruciating when I lie. When I stand, the pain shifts and is gone!! So why the white coats advise bed rest for long is beyond me....
  • After the injury is showing signs of healing, you must negotiate the movements that you fear most, even if gently, so the muscles and nerves do not forgot what they were meant to do: move and keep u afloat.  The most challenging for me had been balancers,cross-legged sitting,  squat, and cycling movements with the legs, walking on the street without the brace -- so many things that can become ` learnt fear'  for a body part. U have to dislodge that fear permanently, even it involves u falling about while attempting it. 
  • If you bring a playfulness to  ur healing instead of grim determination or fearful resistance, you are bound to heal faster. Playfulness, ability to laugh at yourself when you fall, or flail, and feel pain, that is the key. That could also be the most difficult part to whip up inside you -- unless u did it during sadhana, it could be rather difficult to suddenly become playful about serious things and yet maintain focus. Most people are grim and determined because if they become playful, they fear, they will lose their focus:) 
  • .  U have to be firm, kind -- but mostly firm with your body if you wish to heal.
  • U have to try to bring the body back to normal movement as fast as u can, and firmly bring the difficult movements also back, otherwise the nerve will forever feel pinched, become hypervigilant and refuse to release its fear.
  • Ur awareness must be deep, subtle and intense -- to know when it is the nerve protesting and when it is the muscle. This will not come without you having a history of body awareness or sadhana.
  • Finally, you must surrender to what has happened.: not resent the injury, not go back and forth about why it happened, and who caused it. You have to let go. You may even have to let go of the idea that it should heal permanently. You do your best, and then bindass, leave the rest. It does not even matter if my knee does not heal back to its original strength, but you must think that  "I am going to do as much as possible to get it there. And, I will leave it to wherever it will take me."
  • And not to hug the injury. Lots of people use illness to run off from something, some bogeyman. I am sure I have done that myself, in the past (school, office, boss, deadlines... u name it:) Then the healing will wait till the bogeyman passes -- and that could take forever... But at least u know when you are pretending to hurt and when you really hurt. And if you hurt really, u don't want to be mired in that forever...
Choose healing, all of you.. :) Here is one of the prayers we chant at the end of the sadhana, in the Sivananda school.

Om Sarve Bhavantu Sukhinah/ Sarve Shantu Nir-Aamayaah
Sarve Bhadraanni Pashyantu/Maa Kashcid-Duhkha-Bhaag-Bhavet /Om Shaantih Shaantih Shaantih

Om, May All become Happy,

May All become free from Illness.
May All see what is Auspicious,
Let no one Suffer.
Om Peace, Peace, Peace.

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