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Tonight when I thought about going to my regular yoga class, I felt slight trepidation, because of a recent injury that took over the left side of my back. I'm not sure how it happened, and even the location of the injury is vague, originating somewhere between my lower back and neck, but causing pain to radiate down the left side of my back. The pain has been arresting, especially when I try to take a deep breath.

I decided to go to yoga anyway, knowing that even if I didn't participate in any poses, just showing up in the space would be healing. I knew that I would find a familiar quiet and soft energy that would help me to turn inward, to bring me to my center, and a pace that would restore a sense of balance and well-being.

When the class began, I felt myself calm down much more quickly than usual. I felt myself surrender, as something in me silently dedicated the practice to other wounded beings.

Because of the pain that was very constant, I felt myself moving more quickly into a place of trust. I became more aware and focused on the breath allowing it to keep me buoyed up through the practice. I recognized an intense desire to more fully open to the possibilities of healing.

I felt a sensation of curiosity at how the hour would unfold.

I began the poses filling my lungs with air until something would seize in my back.

I began a practice of noticing.

I noticed my fears surfacing that I could do more damage to whatever was injured by attempting the poses. I noticed voices of doctors and well-meaning-advice-givers from the past coming into my head, telling me that I should let an injury rest, that I was an idiot for moving through the pain. Didn't I know that I would cause it to heal more slowly, or worse, not at all?

I also noticed a sense of spaciousness permeating the voices. I noticed that I wasn't fully convinced by them, and felt my own intuitive ideas about healing surfacing. I noticed how these feelings emanated peace within me, how this peace washed gently over my thoughts and slowed my mind down.

I focused more on the breath than usual. I noticed how when I inhaled the pain intensified, when I exhaled, the pain lessened.

Little by little I became an observer of the pain. I felt it intensify as I focused on it, and ease as I forgot about it. I felt the pain as part of my body, and then as something that felt distinctly separate.

I noticed that in the easier more restful poses, like child's pose and forward bend, the pain was the most acute. In the poses that required more movement and muscle strength, like mountain and raised slant, the pain eased.

I kept aware of the breath as much as I could, observing how it grounded the experience into the present moment.

Little by little I began to notice the pain becoming dense, like a dark energy field over the left side of my back. Then I noticed the strangest sensation: other healthy muscles felt as though they began working around the dense pain, as if to compensate for the injured, sore parts.

I continued to breathe through the pain and soon lost myself in the shape of the poses that were somehow being made by my body despite the injury. I became very interested in the fact that my body could work so well even with the signal sounding that my body was wounded.

Without my mind actively telling me that I should be afraid of the the sensations of pain, my body relaxed and became engaged in rewriting the program for the muscles--to guide my body to work in the most efficient ways possible, making all necessary adjustments that would be conducive to relaxation.

I began to notice how restorative the poses felt, how with consistent practice, the poses have become burned in my muscle memory, so much so that without my direction, my body was creating the shapes in space automatically.

As I let my body lead and settle into the poses, the pain began to dim. The more the pain dimmed, the less fear there was, and the more I could trust my body to move me.

At moments the pain was completely gone. At times it faded in and out. However, it never hindered the practice.

When I finished, I felt thankful to have experienced the hour of yoga with this specific pain, to see how my body could work just fine, when the judgement and fear was out of the way.

I realized that it was only my thoughts that were the source of my pain. Without my thoughts the pain was just an experience. Without my thoughts, being wounded didn't hinder me or my movement.

Without my fearful thoughts, an intuitive part became activated, and was able to coast within the present moment; to find gentle guidance with no efforting, no contracting fear, and no second-guessing.

When I bowed my head for the final namaste, I felt a deep prayer rise from within giving thanks for this experience, for the learning and deeper insight that could be extrapolated to other aspects of my life, where I might be feeling wounded, where I knew others might be feeling wounded.

I allow myself to surrender to a grace that if given the chance will bubble up to any surface, surround any pain, and bring about the most organic and natural healing, the most abundant love and support; a grace that will circle around any heart, keeping it beating strong and open with love, working to compensate for the wounded parts dense with grief and suffering, paralyzed in pain and fear.


  1. How beautiful: to breathe and move with pain instead of freezing up and holding our breath.

    Thank you for this wisdom, Brooke!

  2. Hiya Brooke,

    ACIM reminds us that everything is in our mind. However, I think gentleness is the way forward. Lets face it, some beliefs are like stubborn weeds and may take longer to uproot than others. I just want to aknowledge you for surrendering to the process, softening the jagged edges, and for treating yourself with love and kindness

    Love Nige


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