the llama blog
practicing yoga off the mat.
Over 10 years ago, I started training for my first 5k. Two weeks into my running practice, I heard a loud pop in my knee – the same sound I heard when I tore my ACL back in high school. The doctor told me my ACL was loose, and I had torn some of my meniscus. I could have a second knee surgery at the ripe old age of 25, or I could find another method to heal.
That method was yoga, but it took several years before I fully accepted yoga as my healer. I continued to lift weights, run on the elliptical and push through cardio classes telling myself if I work harder my knee would get stronger. Little did I realize, I was actually disconnecting myself from my knee and the pain.
Much of my first yoga classes were in my living room in front of the television. I gradually attended public classes as my confidence grew. I enjoyed yoga for the physical practice, and never realized any healing was taking place.
During one class, I had an “aha” moment. I was practicing pigeon for the first time, and I whipped my left leg to the top of my mat forcing it further than it should go. I wanted to scream in pain, but held it in. It was a reminder that the area still needed some attention.
After that class, I decided I had to make some changes. I began listening to the way my body responded to whatever activity I was practicing. And it spoke back to me. High lunges were too challenging right now, but Warrior 2 felt great. I began to rebuild my knee and the way I treat my body. I listened. I paused. I waited for the response.
I am so grateful to have found yoga all those years ago. What may have started as a method to heal my knee has become my everyday method to dealing with life. Yoga can be so many different things to so many different people. It can be a physical healer, a great workout, a community, a spiritual practice and a listener.
What are you grateful for in your life this year?