I am a firm believer of “everything happens for a reason”, which is probably why the timing of yoga and pilates coming into my life was kismet.
I discovered Yoga in 2000 and in 2001, I was hit by a car whilst walking across a pedestrian crossing resulting in chronic back pain. In 2014, I became a certified Pilates Mat and Reformer Instructor and in late 2014 began complaining of severe hip pain. I feel so blessed to have had the skills to manage my pain with Yoga and Pilates instead of having to turn to pain killers. For me, daily yoga and pilates has not been a luxury but rather a necessity.
It wasn’t until recently that a photoshoot went horribly wrong, that is, I couldn’t get my leg into the car without physically lifting it, that I realised something was seriously wrong with my hip. The next day I went to see a my Osteopath who said I was displaying all the symptoms of someone with a slipped disk in my lumbar spine. Of course I was very quick to tell her that she was wrong and that it wasn’t my back, it was my hip. I begged her to just give me a treatment and send me home but she advised me that I would need to have a scan and that she couldn’t help me until she had seen the results but in the meantime, I shouldn’t do any activities that involved any lumbar extension or flexion. As the tears began to well up in my eyes, I felt like a Heroin Addict who had just been told they had to go on the Methadone program. Over the last 15 years, yoga had been my drug of choice- yoga would make everything ok- physically, mentally and emotionally.
When I left my Osteo’s office I just wanted to go somewhere and have a big cry. I dreaded getting on my mat or on the Pilates Reformer as my mind was just boggled at the thought of not doing any forward or backbends. All I knew is that as a yoga and pilates instructor and a devotee, I couldn’t imagine my life with these tools- my drugs of choice. So the very next day I lay down on the reformer and began to move and then I then lay out my yoga mat and before long I was doing my full practice in neutral spine. I moved my body, not like I used to, but in a way that allowed me to maintain a neutral spine. And magically the next day, my hip felt so much better. It was then that I realised, much to my dismay, that my Osteo may be right! So I booked in for an MRI for confirmation (the results are pending). 3 weeks later I am still doing my modified yoga and pilates practice and to be honest, I have actually grown quite fond of my new practice. Having to modify your practice because of injury forces you to put your ego aside and really explore the postures and exercises with a fresh pair of eyes. It also has forced me to become a better instructor as I can’t demonstrate the postures/ exercises so I really need to give accurate instructions. And most importantly, it gives me empathy for my clients. Over the last 13 years I have often wondered when my back will stop being my greatest teacher but I have come to realise that I think it’s going to continue to guide me for the rest of my lifetime.
Being hit by a car 13 years ago was blessing in disguise. If it wasn’t for this life changing experience, I would be just another office worker complaining of backpain with no skills to relieve it. Instead, I have both yoga and pilates in my tool box from which I can draw from to heal myself and to help heal others.
It got me thinking… it’s our attachment to the past, the way things were, the body that we had etc etc that brings us down. By living in the moment, accepting our current situation and adapting to our new state of being we can achieve real happiness.