We all have suffered or suffer from some sort of pain. Physical pain or emotional pain. As a yoga teacher, I am constantly in contact with situations of pain, existing or emerging, punctual or chronic. This applies for myself and my students.
I used to be someone who would avoid pain and almost get scared when one of my students would come up with painful feelings. I the meantime, have understood that pain is everywhere, we can not avoid it. And that my pain is not bigger than your pain, I learned to acknowledge everyone’s pain.
There is of course a thin line between a pain that is somehow “manageable” and a pain that gets out of control becoming bigger and causing more pain and discomfort. But this thin line is set according to very personal observation.
I have suffered from severe knee pain for years and in the last months I had a rotator cuff injury, probably due to Chaturanga Dandasana transitions. I have learned a lot through this pains, had to adapt my practice, learned to use props and to adapt every move, from Down dog to Vira 2 and everything in between. But mostly, what I learned, was patience.
TAPAS in the sense of patience
I have heard yoga teachers saying that injuring ourselves and being in pain is part of the yoga journey. In the beginning I was sceptical towards this sort of affirmation, thinking that you simply have to avoid pain as much as possible. I now think pain is a teacher. If we get there and stay with this teacher for a while we can learn a lot more than if we abandon this teacher straight away.
I am pain free today, and the journey has been so rewarding! Herewith I am not saying that you should practice in pain and cultivate it, but I really think pain has a reason to exist that deserves it’s space in our practice.