As I was just beginning what I consider to be the real start of my adulting process, I discovered yoga. I had done yoga before, many times, and enjoyed it. But now I had discovered it. It began to feed me physically and spiritually and jettisoned my healing forward at incredible speed.
After about a year of some hot and heavy yoga, I decided it was time to advance my practice and go to yoga teacher training.
I wasn’t there very long before I noticed this painful twinge on the right side of my low back. In the yoga community, “yoga is my medicine” is an annoyingly common phrase. So I figured, I would continue my practice and allow yoga to heal my body.
Only, it got…worse.
The twinge got worse and now I had shooting pains down my right side that made it difficult to stand for extended periods. My right side started to weaken. The left side of my face started to lose feeling.
The doctors (the real doctors) were puzzled. They checked me for all sorts of things, including a brain tumor. But nothing.
I became disillusioned with yoga. Not just because of the physical issues , but it certainly was a main contender.
I started shopping around the medical community for answers – traditional and non. My body was poked and prodded and scanned and tapped and rubbed and hammered until I begin to lose any sense of my body being my own and all the while, I harbored this deep sense of betrayal towards yoga.
I know that sounds strange to think that a thing could betray you, but I did. I had trusted the practice, the philosophy, and it had let me down. It had damaged me. People would ask me “Oh, are you teaching yoga anywhere?” and I would have to hold back a snort. I wasn’t even practicing, much less teaching.
Over the years, the pain has actually begun to subside and I’ve been able to start strengthening the right side of my body. But I’m still plagued with the issue and I continue to try and find new ways to address it. About three months ago, I went to a Healing Touch session. I told the woman that the issue had started with that twinge on my right side during a yoga class about six years ago.
She sets to work and then says, “Are you sure this was from six years ago? It feels really old.”
I have a flash of memory. When I was 11 years old, I was rollerskating (yes, rollerskating) with my dog (yes, my dog) when the leash got caught on my skates. I flew through the air and landed…on my right side. My right arm was broken and my right hip was torn to shreds.
A few weeks later, I’m suffering through massage therapy (at one point I told my therapist that if I had the nuclear codes I would give them to him) and I tell him this story – that the pain started in yoga but that the energy worker said it was older. I tell him about falling on my right side and breaking my arm.
“Did you go to physical therapy after you broke your arm?” he asks.
I shake my head into that weird donut face holder thing.
“Then that makes perfect sense to me. When you healed, your right side was weak and your left side compensated. It’s been out of whack all these years but you never noticed. Yoga naturally balances you out. So when you started to get balanced, the imbalances you’ve been living with began to come out.
“You’re having to unravel all the way back to the beginning, back to when you were a child. You’ve got to work through all the issues that built up around the initial issue until you can get to that original injury and heal it.”
I swear, there was an audible sound of my brain exploding.
This concept of “unraveling” was pretty amazing.
- It made sense, not only physically, but also…I could see how it could be true in so many other ways. What emotional injuries had never properly healed and so I have been compensating for them without even noticing?
- Perhaps yoga hadn’t betrayed me at all. Perhaps it had been doing exactly what it was supposed to do. Helping me find the imbalances so I can be in balance. Perhaps it was just the first real step in the unraveling process. If that’s the case, is it possible that some of those big trials and tribulations – difficult work situations, tough family issues, failed business ideas – were actually just pointing out imbalances and helping me to unravel so I can get back to the original injury and heal?
- If unraveling is a process, then it makes sense why it would take me so many years to get better. If I have to work through 20 some years of imbalance why would I think that a quick visit to the chiropractor would fix everything? When I picture it as an unraveling, I can see that I need to work through each layer so that I can move on to the next one. It doesn’t mean it isn’t working, it means I am doing the work.
So I ask you this:
What are you unraveling in your life – physically, emotionally, spiritually?
What in your life seemed to let you down, but maybe could help you identify an imbalance?
Can you ease into the unraveling process and give yourself the space to work through it layer by layer, knowing that you are working towards that original injury?
Can you thank yourself for doing such a good job of handling that old injury and working around it?
Now go unravel, you adult.