And Still I Rise:
The power of Yoga Asanas for my personal recovery
Asanas are powerful! For 6 weeks I was almost immobile in my lower body, having to rely on breath and meditation to assist me to rising above the discomforts from my injury. The cracked fracture left me unable to bare weight, thus anything other than chair Yoga was not tolerated.
While meditating from my wheel chair during that time, Maya Angelou’s poem “And Still I Rise” slipped into my consciousness. I thought of it in the context of widely held habitual attitudes concerning senior’s inability to bounce back from falls, or other physical mishaps. Complete recoveries from injuries or severe physical disorders are frequently regarded by most as unobtainable for those over sixty-five. So I used Dr. Angelou’s poem to motivate me and to disconnect with negative expectations, and self-inhibiting notions of the human spirit.
“You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I'll rise.”
I had become tangent with frequent feelings of rising, rising above, transcending that which was occurring on the physical level, through my frequent use of breath therapy Pranayamas, & deep meditation Dhyana. These powerful healing techniques created the inner strength necessary for me to now knowledgably draw more from my outer periphery, my musculoskeletal system. The musculoskeletal system is a significantly gross bodily system on which the Yoga postures i.e., Asanas, are formulated.
Asanas are powerful because they are built on fortifying your temple, your body, the home of your spirit. Seven weeks into my recovery, I recognized how the limited use of my musculoskeletal system had influenced my human spirit. I began to feel the impact that my injured, inactive, aging body was having on my spirit to rise up against my lingering physical obstacles. My inner voice began to ask the universe:
“Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops.
Weakened by my soulful cries.”
At that point those words impelled me to reinforce my healing process with Asanas, and to stand-up against the mobility challenges with which I was confronted.
“Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I'll rise.”
Asanas are powerful because they require that you take inventory of all that you have been blessed with, from inside out and toe to head. Just standing tall in Tadasana (Mountain Pose) for the first time since, seemingly forever, I reactivated my highest appreciation for aligning physical strength with spiritual solidarity.
Establishing balance with an even distribution of physical energy on each side, catapulted my seeking the same harmony in other areas of myself. While pressing my palms together into my center, I integrated my self-confidence and self -efficacy into that heart felt, Namaste position. Allowing my pelvis to assume a comfortable curve supported by my abs, I began to stack one vertebra on top of the other. As I stood with my head held high, shoulders pulled back, and pelvis feeling strong...
would believe that I actually began to reminisce and fantasize.
“Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I've got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?”
At that moment I gave thanks to my ancestors for infusing my infant ancient veins with knowledge of self-healing through the principles and practices of Yoga. Even deeper gratitude was experienced for my Shaping Shades of Gray program, that uses comprehensive Yoga techniques to re-pattern the habitual ways that the brain responds to input from the Nervous System, while reducing age related fear, pain and diminished capacity.
I then rose and stood up, defying gravity and all limited understandings of the power of human spirit, at any age, and at any stage of continuous human growth.
“Out of the huts of history's shame
Up from a past that's rooted in pain
I'm a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
Into a daybreak that's wondrously clear
* Visit hydyinc.org for forthcoming Shaping Shades of Gray programs, Yoga Teacher Training course, private & semiprivate programs, new products, and provider services.