About two years ago I suffered a knee injury that sidelined my running for nearly a year. I had difficulty with basic mobility and walking. Being a stubborn type of woman, I pushed through the pain and forced myself for go on long walks even though it was very painful to take a step much less 3 miles of steps. My visit to the doctor garnered me a prescription for painkillers which slowly robbed me of my hearing, an xray which was inconclusive, and a field trip slip to a physical therapist who marveled at the fact I was a runner with skinny calves. Yes, I had hit the jackpot in healthcare.
Feeling frustrated, I dumped the painkillers and abandoned my physical therapist after a month. While searching for a means for recovery that didn’t require medication and the low grade body shaming I received from my PT, I restarted my yoga regimine. My pain was in the soft tissue near my knee. The exercises my PT wanted me to do were fine for building the muscles around my knee, but I knew yin yoga would provide me more of what I needed to get to the source of my pain.
Yin yoga is a practice where you hold poses for five minutes to lengthen ligaments at the joints. The long holds allows the body to open up. I noticed my flexibility was increasing and my pain was lessening. During yin yoga, there is a lot of talk about the invisible web enveloping the body. A pain or discomfort in one part of the body affects another part of the body. Also the lengthening in one part affects the rest of the body. This idea of a web set my mind and body on a healthy journey. Instead of thinking of my body as parts, I was thinking of it as a connected living organism that needed gentle maintenance. Soon I was running and lifting weights without pain.
This morning I had a wonderful yoga class that left me satisfied in mind and body. I embraced my web like a treasured shawl as I felt the muscles in my arms, legs, and abs. I may have skinny legs and not look like your typical runner, but I know I’m a runner. I know I may not rock a six pack or have muscular arms like Michelle Obama, but I know I’m strong. I may not look like the most graceful and flexible gymnast, but I am flexible. I just need to keep honoring my personal web.