Earlier this Summer I had surgery to remove a bone spur from my foot. It was a relatively minor procedure intended to relieve the source of acute pain I have been tolerating for years. The post-operative instruction from my doctor was to apply as much pressure as I could tolerate as often as I could. I took the guidance as a challenge...
Within two weeks of the surgery, I began running three days per week. I resumed using the bicycle as my primary method of commuting. I walked EVERYWHERE with the babe. Throughout this period I ignored the raised eyebrows and questions from well-meaning family about the wisdom of my approach. "It's doctor's orders," I assured them.
The one thing I didn't add to my grit-my-teeth-and-power-through-it routine was yoga. Running may have been uncomfortable, but as a teacher of yoga, I "knew" that putting my foot through the range of motion required to execute many of the common poses in a vinyasa practice would be excruciating. I'm not quite ready, I told myself, I'll just give it a little more time to heal.
Two months after surgery, the joint was still stiff, swelling at the site of the incision was still pronounced, and my overly ambitious approach to activity backfired, resulting in an aggravated Achilles tendon. This time the doctor told me to take it easy - and NOT run. "Yoga could be helpful," he suggested...
The next day I limped back to the yoga studio. But this time, rather than give into the voice in my head trying to tell me what I "couldn't" do, I instead approached each instruction from the teacher as an opportunity to explore - carefully and mindfully - what might be possible. After that first class, I noticed an immediate improvement in my ability to walk without pain. Excited by the possibility of continued progress, I returned the next day, and the next. After one week of mindful movement, the swelling and discomfort had subsided significantly.
How often do our perceived limitations prevent us from exploring what might be possible? Instead of allowing assumptions about what you "can't" do dictate your behavior, can you instead proceed with an open mind? You just might surprise yourself - and encounter some healing along the way...
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