My Body Knew

I recall the moment I could not make myself do yoga, a practice that I’d been doing for three years, five to seven days a week, usually in the morning. In fact, to any physical exercise I wanted to do, my body said no.

 It did, however, bring back a memory of the few years previous, of living in New Westminster, an area of Vancouver, BC, on the ‘brow of the hill’. I hardly ever drove, and so I walked or rode my bike almost daily. If I took the Skytrain, I’d walk from the station home (walking time was only about five minutes). I recall finding it more and more difficult to make that climb, and I began to take the bus, a one-minute drive. It was now also harder to ride my bike among the hills, and I eventually sold the bike due to lack of use of it. It didn’t make sense; I was only about 32 years old at the time. 

I was living in a rural area of South Korea right next to the beach. My apartment building was nestled between two short but steep mountains, and it was common for my colleagues and I, who all lived in the same building, to climb the mountains or jump in the water after work.

Deokpo Beach, South Korea

For a few months, I was beginning to find it difficult to make the 20-minute climb to the top of the mountain, and one day, for the first time ever, I had to stop and seriously gather myself. I felt weak, shaky, out of breath. I wondered why I found it so hard to do.

So, sitting on the mountain on Geoje Island, my mind began to put a few of these pieces together, but not for long. I brushed them aside and continued to climb. 

Try, Try Again?

Not long after, I do not know how long, a few months perhaps, I prepared myself to do my kundalini yoga practice. I washed my face, pulled my hair back, changed into yoga gear, even put on music and got out my mat. I had decided which kriya I was going to do but when I sat down… nothing. 

I didn’t move. 

I couldn’t move.

I told myself to move and I didn’t. I just sat there. 

The music played and I glanced at my book. I looked around the room; I noted the heat from the ondol flooring and the worn out parts I had to avoid because they got too hot. I heard the customers in the restaurant below, outside my building, yet still nothing.

I must have sat there for 15 minutes and eventually surrendered to just sitting on the warm floor, listening to music. After that, it was at least two years before I tried yoga again, not for lack of wanting to, but due to a part of me saying no. My body was depleted. 

When I did try again, I experienced such intense pain after each session, such as muscle aches (not the good aches that you get a day or two after a workout that tell you your muscles are building), extreme joint pain, and a seizing up of my body which initiated tension headaches. If I was lucky enough to not have to work, the following days would be spent at home, mostly in bed but also in the hot shower or bath. I used hot water bottles and hot packs, and, especially if I had to work, pain cream and oral pain-killers.

It seemed that even after trying to take it as easy as possible each time did yoga or another physical activity, the result was still debilitating pain. Needless to say, I was completely turned off from doing anything in the realm of exercise.

Two Things That Helped

Today, I do some yoga, meditation, and other very gentle exercise. What got me from there to here? Two things. One was the recovery of my menstrual health, which was an enormous element in why I was in pain.

I did this by following the anti-nano protocol, especially the bucket and triangle as well as changing my diet and using specific supplements to mitigate nano-laced food.

Once I saw a change in my menstrual health, I began to feel that growing, building sensation after doing something physical, like my body was finally rebuilding rather than wasting away.

My brain fog also lifted somewhat. I was beginning to feel stronger!

The second thing that helped me return to activity and yoga was a treatment program I underwent in which I took part in BMAP (the Body Mind Awareness Program).

While I use some of the tools I learned, such as the specific meditation techniques and sensory stimulation for grounding, it got me back to doing a meditation practice and to returning to kundalini yoga.

Can I do the full kundalini yoga now? Well, I do try sometimes, but I still have lots of rebuilding to go, and so I do easy kriyas. I modify poses to my strength and ability, and when I cannot do the poses at all, I visualize.

I see myself doing it and know that the benefit of the picture in the mind can be just as powerful as doing the real thing. 

Or sometimes I just walk and still my mind and body that way.

My message to you would be this

When your body knows, it will decide the action. Yes, we need to give ourselves a push at times in order to follow through and to do things that will benefit us, but we have to pay careful attention to what the message is if something tells us not to do it.

Is it out of fear of the result? If so, that is the ego talking and playing Mr. or Mrs. Sabotage.

Or, is it for your benefit? As a chronically ill person, the need to take it easy is real, so listen to the subtle messages of your body and take it easy, one breath and one small movement at a time.

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