Joelle's Yoga

Yoga as a Tool for Overcoming Injury

Published in the Yoga Association of BC Newsletter Spring 2002

Last summer a van hit my friend Lori as she was riding home from a friend’s house on her bike. Lori later told me that while it was happening she heard herself say, “Ok, you’re being hit by this van so just relax.” She felt her body tell her, “Just let yourself fall with the inertia”, and remembers the moment when she felt the van go over her pelvis. Energy was moving through her body as she watched herself move very quickly into jelly, the place where her body goes in meditation.

After I heard about Lori’s experience, I couldn’t get it out of my mind. I began to think a lot about the power of yoga practice not just as a means to create a state of health and wellbeing but to transform us on a cellular level.

In Lori’s case, her yoga practice seemed to have instilled in her a deep wisdom that came from her body. In a moment of crises, her body knew what to do. Her recovery was an almost miraculously short process. Less than two months after the accident Lori came strolling into my Saturday morning power yoga class!

Leila Stuart, the inspiration for the feature article, The Heart of Yoga, is a yoga teacher and massage therapist. Her story, like Lori’s, is a testimony to the fact that wawreness of the body translates into awareness in everything we do. We can direct the energy of our thoughts in a positive way to nurture and heal ourselves.

As Leila says, “As people become more aware of the body, then they start becoming aware of how much effort they expend in putting the clothes in the dryer, driving the car, how much effort they put into thinking of trying to make their partner do something. So awareness starts filtering into their lives.”

Gradually, as we become more tuned in to the awareness itself, the sensation of pleasure or pain is definitely present, but so is the power to let go of it. It is a paradox that yoga, a practice that is often focused on the perfection of a physical posture, is really about developing awareness. In the case of Leila and my friend, Lori, their experience of pain and discomfort made them stronger. In the midst of pain and crisis both women found their spiritual foundation inside themselves.

As I’ve seen in my own life too, the natural reaction to stress is to fight or flee. Through my yoga practice, both on and off the mat, I am learning how to face the things in myself that I would have sooner ignored or been unable to see. As I become more aware of myself, I am able to see painful patterns without judgment and adopt more supportive attitudes.

I hope that you enjoy reading this issue of YABC and that your yoga practice continues to open the door to the beauty and wholeness that you already possess


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