Thanks Giving

For the last month, I have felt better every day. I feel stronger and much more at ease in daily activities. My yoga practice continues to develop and I am slowly returning to inversions, twists, and even some mild backbends. I feel confident that my physical condition will be as good or even better than before within a few months. I am so grateful for the support and love that I have received during this challenging period of my life. It has been difficult, but also full of learning and hidden blessings.

It has been an eye opening experience for me to have to rebuild my yoga practice from the ground up. When I started practicing yoga, I already had 15 years of dance training behind me. There was still much to learn, of course, but I never experienced how difficult the poses can be when your body feels stiff and weak. Now I know! I experienced what it was like for my legs to be so tight that I could not move into the full posture, and for my whole body to feel unsteady and shaky because my muscles did not have enough tone to support me. It struck me quite forcefully that I had never fully appreciated how hard my beginning students were working and how intense the postures could feel for them. I feel that I have a fresh empathy for my students that will help me teach with more skill and compassion.

It was also revealing to teach in a seated position for almost a month. I always watch my students, but I also demonstrate and do poses along with them. For the first time, I had to stay seated for the entire class. This limitation brought out some wonderful new possibilities.  Sitting, I had a new point of view, and since I was not moving, much more of my attention was on really seeing the students. This brought my observation skills to a new level. Then, to teach based on what I was seeing, I had to use my words much more skillfully. I could not quickly show a correction on my body or use hands on adjustments to communicate. I had to use language, and then see if what I said was helping the students move in the right direction. Another skill that came out of this restriction to sitting was that I used the students more as demonstrators. This is a good technique that I use regularly, but I depended on it more and learned how to make it work even better. So many teaching tools were honed due to the fact that I was stuck in one spot.

Concerning my health, energy and emotional state, the learning has been profound. Without a doubt, I have allowed myself more unstructured time and recreation than perhaps ever in my life during the last month. I play the piano, watch sit coms, read, make phone calls. I allow myself time to rest, relax and play much more. At first this was pure necessity – I simply did not have the energy to work at my usual pace. Now I see that for my healing to continue, I need to allow this kind of playfulness and spaciousness in my life from now on. I am finding that it feeds my creativity, and when it is time to work, I am more at ease and just as efficient and effective – maybe more so.

Working with imagery and affirmations before and after my surgery also has affected me quite strongly. I am convinced that the use of affirmations and imagery helped me get through surgery more easily and helped clear away the aggressive cancer cells. Now I have a fabulous tool to use for the rest of my life. I find that any time I am facing a challenge, I can create an affirmation to work with the situation, and get my whole body/mind working together to help me through the difficulty. Recently I felt some sinus congestion coming on. In the past, I might have let thoughts run through my head such as “I can’t get sick. No way am I getting sick. I do not have time to get sick.” Notice that every one of those statements has a negative word and the word sick, and that is what the body/mind hears. Instead, now I am working with a healing statements like “My powerful immune system creates vibrant health and radiant well being. I am well. I am healed.” I use these affirmations while I am cooking, walking, or falling asleep and I know that they support healing and happiness.

Although it may be cliché, it is true that I appreciate each day, each moment, and each person in my life in a new and deeper way. I find that I have a better ability to let go of things being the way I want or plan, and a new willingness to embrace life as it is, to love things as they are, to move with the flow of change instead of fighting it with my attachments and agendas. How liberating! No one wants to become ill, but the lessons from illness are certainly profound, and I give thanks.

That gratitude extends to my wonderful students and friends, who have supported me with amazing love and attentiveness. They have manifested that love by organizing a benefit to help Cliff and me with our medical expenses. Their kindness touches our hearts! I would be delighted to see you on Friday November 30 at the Kirtan for Karen benefit that my students have arranged.

Love,
Karen

 

 

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One Response to Thanks Giving

  1. Dear Karen, I was so shocked to learn that you had cancer. I read your Yoga Blog and was very impressed with what you have written. I hope you continue to get healthier. I’m sending all wonderful positive energy.
    I’m ok. I still dance every morning to different videos and study pilates with Christine Huff. I have done yoga but I like dancing better. I still have my gallery and fortunately at 71 I’m still pretty healthy. But dancing is my first love and thank you so much for being a big part of my training. I also remember your wonderful singing and movement work shops. hugs, P

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