I’m Not that Girl
As soon as I learned to walk I was pushing myself to run. Soccer was my main sport, but I enjoyed anything that made me feel as though I was pushing my body to its limits. At 15 I tore my Right ACL in my knee and I was shocked to find out I needed surgery to fix it. I quickly pushed myself through surgery and my rehabilitation. I was back on the soccer field a few months later with a large brace and an even larger sense of fear that I would injure my knee again.
Fast forward several years later and I was looking for a good workout that I could use to stay in shape and push my body. I decided to take my first yoga class. I was intrigued by yoga, but mainly wanted to utilize it for its physical benefits.
During the class we were only told different pose names with barely any additional instructions as to how we should position our bodies. I pushed myself into each pose (or asana) because I had the flexibility and strength. I was trying to make yoga into a sport and even into a competition as I watched the other practitioners.
I wanted to feel as though I could “keep up” or “get it right.” Whatever “it” was. At the end of class, as we laid in final relaxation pose (Savasana), I couldn’t or wouldn’t allow myself to relax. I left the studio with my wrists and lower back hurting. I knew there was something about yoga that intrigued me, but I hadn’t found the right practice or studio for what I needed.
Fast forward another couple of years and another torn ACL playing soccer, this time in my left knee. After another surgery I wasn’t as quick to rehabilitate my knee and instead became emotionally depressed from my personal and physical life challenges.
I was now searching for something that could benefit me not just physically, but emotionally and spiritually as well. I researched yoga studios online and found Yoga from the Heart in Sarasota, FL. I took my first class with Lynn Burgess and was thrilled to hear her talking about things that I had never heard before in yoga, sports, or even in my day to day life.
Her focus was not on pushing my body into poses, or obtaining more and more in each posture to the point of pain. She asked us if our breathing was easy and where could we soften in our bodies so that we could observe our breath. She provided instructions and taught us how to move into and out of each posture and to utilize and integrate fully with parts of our bodies that, for me, I hadn’t used in a long time.
She talked about the relationships between different body parts and how they work together in each pose. The class was challenging, but in a way that I had never experienced before. I was so relaxed and felt so in tune with my body that, this time, I thought I could fall asleep during Savasana. I left the class feeling vibrant and I was excited because my body wasn’t hurting. I was hooked!
Through alignment based yoga and the Yoga from the Heart studio, I have learned that when postures or even my life are challenging that is when I need to soften and breathe the most. Will I every play competitive sports again? I am not sure. I think in some ways I will always be an athlete. But what I do know now is that being my best self doesn’t mean pushing my body or mind to the point of pain.
I’m not that girl anymore.