It was this time 4 years ago, at the busiest point in my full-time fitness and yoga teaching career, that my body said “ENOUGH.” I was demo-ing a movement during my 5th class of the day and felt a dull pain that had been lingering in my low back suddenly turn into a shooting pain that extended down my left leg. Several doctor visits and an MRI later, I found out that I had almost fully herniated a disc in my L5/S1 (the meeting point of the lumbar spine and sacrum) which caused severe sciatic nerve pain down my left lower body. It was painful to sit, lay down, stand for too long, and move in most ways aside from gentle incline walking. I was devastated and embarrassed.
How was I supposed to teach others to be in their bodies when I could barely move in my own body? How did I get to this point?
I had lived with scoliosis for most of my life, but had always found ways to push through the discomfort it caused me and compensate in other ways. Honestly, I resented my scoliosis and was really good at hiding it. But there came a point where the pushing and resisting and hiding led me to hide from myself and all of the signs that my body had been sending me to slow down, rest, and truly recover.
It's taken me a lot of years to start to unwind my stories about my wonky, curvy spine, but one of the most powerful parts in that healing journey was learning to reframe my resentment as gratitude. Finding gratitude for the ways my spine forces me to get really present and stay mindful of my body. Gratitude for the ways my spine offers me the opportunity to really check in with how I'm FEELING moment-to-moment. Gratitude for the ways my spine gives me space to slow down in my movement and really spend time with myself rather than rush through the motions. I'm learning to love this wild, twisted spine of mine.
What parts of your body have been challenging for you to love and accept? How are you learning to find gratitude for them this season?