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Mysore, India.

rediscovering my yoga practice

Practice Yoga with a Frozen Shoulder...
I went two weeks in Mysore to see my teacher, Acharya Venkatesh. I needed to take a break from my life in Brussels and I needed to give a break to my aching shoulder. I knew 2 weeks were not enough to heal, but they can be enough to absorb and learn all I needed to learn at this moment. I made a promise to myself to put 100% attention to every minute I would spend with my teacher practising.
At the Atmavikasa Center for Yogic Science, there were a lot of other students, I didn't know anyone. We all had our different path of life and I knew why I was there, I didn't know why the others were there. I wanted to show Acharya the state of my shoulder and I needed to get his feedback, his advice on how to practice, how to improve, how to have less pain, hot to heal and not to lose motivation, which often vanish when pain is there 24/7 never giving you a break.
The first morning I was there, sitting on the bench at 6:30 waiting for Acharya to open the door was the best moment. There is a sort of ritual in his way to welcome you inside his space. He quickly gave us a place where to practice and we would have to keep it for the rest of the time we were there. We started with 5 OM and then the Yogena chant...
It brought back memories. The chant, 5 minutes, not longer than that, has the power to make my focus very sharp and to relax me at the same time.
Then I started practising his sequence.The silence in the room, his attentive gaze, my breath and my pain of course!
Two rounds of Surya Namaskara, one excruciatingly slow, the other one faster. The slow pace is incredible, it is during all of those minutes in the pose that you make the connection with every inch of your body and your breath. Nothing escapes the attention. The breath flows in and out in a very slow pace. One minute is equal to 5 or 6 long breaths. Every exhalation was a reminder where to put the attention. Which muscle to squeeze, which one to relax.
Everyday Acharya would watch my asana, how I held them, focusing only on my breath and trying to do the best I could. I felt instantly 100% focused. I had pain, a lot of pain, but it had to be good. It had to teach me something. The fact that after 90 minutes practice, 30 minutes pranayama, and a very sweated shirt I would not feel pain during the day, to me was a success.
I would do a very very slow first round of Surya Namaskara. I would hold each posture 20 to 40 breaths. I would feel the slow movements of the body at every out-breath, I would have to reach that stage of bliss of forgetting the body before moving to the next posture. Planks were hard to hold for long, but also Bhujangasana, cobra posture was a tough. The weight on my arm and shoulders was a lot, but as I held the posture, the pubic bone would slowly fall down towards the ground arching my lower back and the weight on my shoulder would decrease. I would try to keep them aligned and pushed to the back to open my collar bones and chest.
Acharya kept on saying "watch your breath, smooth breathing".
I would close my eyes not to be distracted and feel my inhalation and exhalation as if they were the most entertaining event of the moment!
if I started thinking "I am tired" or "it hurts", it was impossible to hold one more breath! I had to move to the next asana!!!
Tadasana, despite so easy for me it is still hell, lifting the arms straight, connecting the palms above the head and held it like that was painful. Garudasana, quite challenging too for my left arm, but after 2 weeks I managed to wrap my arms and connect them, which I had lost the ability to few months ago! Gomukhasana gave me tears, a lot of them...Tears of pain more than tears of defeat. I have lost completely the internal and external rotation so the day I will be able to do this asana again will be the day I will declare myself healed!
Dhanurasana, wonderful, I did it so often that I cannot think a day of practice without it...Makarasana, not my favourite...but important to open my shoulder blade. Vakrasana, twist...so important the twists....Ardha Matsyendrasana was the next one. Nothing complicate, nothing too adventurous, but still intense and useful.
I felt the shoulder aching, but I did every pose long enough to fall in love with them, long enough to love my aching body. I did not feel any competition, I did not feel any less of a practitioner or less of a teacher. On the opposite. I felt liberated. Ready to heal.
So this is my practice, and this is my path now, healing.
Self-healing without losing the desire to practice, without losing the enthusiasm to step on my mat and teach, that anything is possible. As I am walking this path right now.
I will go back to Mysore in October for 2 months of 500hour Yoga Therapy Training. As I understood this is my path.
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