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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

2 months post-surgery musing

i'm writing this while sitting outside a starbucks on tuesday night sipping calm tea by tazo. dreamy. i think it is safe to say that i have never been able to enjoy a sidewalk cafe on a tuesday night or, honestly, on most nights over the past decade+ of tranquil space. if i'm not teaching, i've usually been in some sort of meeting so i'm feeling incredibly decadent at the moment. yay for summer school forcing me to shake things up!

i wanted to take a step back to honor this tiny anniversary of 2 months since my shoulder surgery. it's been an interesting ride. i have about 50% range of movement, am in ongoing discomfort, have a tightened capsule around the joint (whatEVER that means), lack the ability to move my right arm on its own fully, and continue with physical therapy 2+ hours per week. alas, torn rotator cuffs and bone spurs aren't too sexy. tomorrow i'll see the surgeon and get feedback on my progress.

being without yoga for 2 months has been incredibly challenging to get used to. at first my body ached from lack of vinyasas, now it's gotten used to being lethargic and prefers sitting in a stable position to movement of any kind. uh oh. i have 1 month left sans yoga or boxing and i know my return to the mat will be more than humbling. ironically, i'll have thumb surgery on july 23 and be in a cast for 6 weeks! talk about lessons in detachment.

once fall rolls around i should be injury-free and ready to rock my regular, beloved, and oh-so-needed yoga practice. these past 8 weeks have served up many lessons and reminders. here are a few:

1. yoga is an important emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual outlet for moi
2. honor the small steps: stopping pain pills 3 days after surgery, getting around sans sling, sleeping sans swath, lifting a cane in physical therapy
3. when life throws you challenges, make 'em sparkle: i added a sparkly cast cover to my swath and rocked it for weeks
4. lighten your load: having two overstuffed bags in tow at all times is too much. i try to carry only the essentials now and my shoulders thank me
5. get comfortable saying "sorry, i can't": i've had to bow out of many opportunities that would have overstuffed an already full calendar or challenged a body in repair.
6. honor your energy: in the past when i'd come home from a long work day i'd open the computer and work until the wee hours handling e-mails, projects, online orders. now i find myself saying "it'll have to wait until tomorrow, i'm pooped!" and it feels good!
7. savor the slow down: life came to a slow halt for the first few weeks as i struggled to use my right hand again. somehow this helped me remember to smell the flowers along the way and to add time to all my usual tasks.
8. think big picture: these 8 weeks are a snippet in my life journey. i'm doing my best to move through these short term struggles to have long term gain.

may these injuries continue to teach me lessons and may i embrace them with a compassionate heart. this experience can only enhance my teaching and empathy for others suffering physical challenges. ommm.


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Unknown said...

I'm surprised that someone who has been teaching yoga for 10 years cannot figure out a way to have a yoga practice that accomodates a wounded shoulder. I can think of a ton of asanas that can be modified to not impact your shoulder. Just because your favorite vinyasa sequences are not possible now does not mean your yoga practice has to disappear altogether. Imagine if someone who is missing an arm came to you and wanted to do yoga - would you tell them that yoga was not an option?

Unknown said...

just love how the universe works don't you!? I am lying here in bed surrounded by clouds of pillows and silk comforters savoring the quiet moments before another day of inaction. Yes, I said inaction as I too am recovering from major surgery. I have felt my body moving into the same lethargy you describe while at the same time yearning for my yoga practice. Through the challenges of the past 4 weeks I have had to remind my self that yoga is union of body, mind and spirit and although asanas feel so long ago and just a wee bit scary to start again (someday) my meditation and spiritual growth practice has soared. There are days when I feel incredibly sorry for myself and fearful of what this inaction has created for my practice. Then there are days when I find a sparkly gem in my path. Today it is your "2 months post-surgery musing", and am once again inspired. Thank you for sharing and giving. Although you are currently off your mat you have taught this yogini a new lesson. Om Shantih.