December 17th, 2010

Pain, Pain, Go Away

By Denise Cook

When I first came to my yoga mat many years ago I was in pain, but didn’t realize it was more than physical. Resistant and physically stiff I kept my teacher’s suggestions at arms-length and muttered every time she said something that actually made sense to me. The next day I showed up again, I was on a journey, so for thirty days I was committed. I didn’t realize how many facets of pain I would begin to actually unearth on this new journey. It was a new beginning, a “you had had me at Namaste” moment.

Over the next few years the practice of yoga kept coming in and out of my life. I tried several styles of asana and gravitated toward Ashtanga Vinyasa. For a few years it was heaven because I could muscle in and leave feeling rejuvenated and although not knowing why, just loving it.

Then one day on my second day at an ashram, it happened, I went down in chatturanga, and I could not physically push myself up. A voice inside cried, “Stay down, surrender.” I did. I lay there for an unknown amount of time until the urge to finally move crept into my body. When the tears passed I began to breathe. Not only did I begin to breathe, but I began to breathe deep. I felt as if I were breathing for the first time. Something I had been holding onto let go and the pain was startling, but when it passed there was peace, and I could breathe.

It is so true what the Buddha said, “This too shall pass.” Pain is no different. This past Summer I was Rollerblading behind my daughter and fell hard. A passer-by stopped and called 911, but held my hand and reminded me to breathe; if she only knew.

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