Sunday, February 13, 2011

Returning to Practice with a Beginner's Mind

When I woke up this morning, I was feeling quite anxious as I would be going for my first yoga class since my tennis elbow injury.  It was also my first class at My Yoga Sanctuary which opened its doors in January 2011 and my first time practicing with my teacher, Azmi Samdjaga and my fellow yoga practitioners this year.  I had tweeted Azmi last night to inform him that I would be attending the flow class and that I may need to skip some of the poses as my elbow is not completely healed.  Azmi had responded that he was not worried about me as he knows that I would listen to my body and it gave me a boost of confidence to go to the class.

When I decided to attend the flow class today, it was after a lot of contemplation and doing an assessment on the condition of my elbow after going to so many acupuncture treatments.  I could still feel some pain in some movements but my arm has been starting to go stiff due to the limited activity.   Although I have been doing some self-practice,  I feel that I have been too cautious in trying not to aggravate my elbow as I had been doing poses that do not make much use of my hands as support although downward dog has actually been a pain reliever most of the time.

As Azmi’s flow class normally consists of poses for an all-round workout for the whole body which includes standing, sitting, forward bends, backbends as well as arm balancing poses,  I thought that I would need to skip some of the poses especially the arm-balancing poses.  Remembering my post about Beginner’s Mind, I decided to set my intention to embrace a beginner’s mind for the class by opening to possibilities and not deciding beforehand how my practice should go and what poses I should not do in the class.

With this in mind, I managed to do most of the poses which included sun salutations, bakasana,  eka pada koundiyanasana, wheel pose, shoulder stand, halasana and headstand.  I did skip some chaturangas by going straight to downward dog during some of the transitions but it was also to conserve energy besides easing some pressure off the elbow.  Whenever I felt any pain in my elbow which was mainly from twisting my right hand, I eased off or did a variation of the pose.

The 90 mins flow class was  a great workout for both my body and my mind and it was also an affirmation that when you practice, all will be coming.

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