Anticipating

I thought I had it all figured out when it came to anticipating changes and challenges.

I chose the word vulnerability for 2023 and I thought I was done with being exposed emotionally, having to ask for help and all that other stuff that is so hard for me. Leaving 2023 behind, I was feeling pretty good about my progress in learning to be a little more exposed and willing to ask and receive help.

Little did I know that it was all just practice for the BIG time vulnerability.

For 2024, I opted to work on being okay regardless of what was going on. To be neutral in the midst of chaos and to not waiver when life gets challenging. I want to practice equanimity.

One week ago I had total hip replacement. I opted to go into the process solo knowing that I would be required to have a lot of help at home. My intention while at the hospital for three days was focusing on me. I felt pretty confident going home that I had myself ready. Preparing my house for time spent mostly on one level that has a bathroom and space for me to relax, ice and heal was key. Making sure I had snacks, books, pillows and all the things I felt I would need to limit the constant asking people to get things. I thought I was set.

In many ways I was and am set. Having done seven orthopedic surgeries in seven years prior to this one, I felt fairly confident in my ability to navigate pain, crutches and living in a tri-level house.

I had lots of things however that I did not anticipate. You can read all the articles on what to expect but until you are in it, there really isn’t a true frame of reference. And I will say again, hearing that 80 year olds have this procedure all the time and do great is so not helpful. Part of the gift of living a Yoga lifestyle is learning to truly practice not comparing yourself to anyone, including the 80 year olds that have been sedentary and usually already dependent on others and who will continue to be sedentary and dependent on others. Not the super active, busy changing lives, walking machine like me.

Anticipation is a great thing, until you miss a few things.

What I didn’t anticipate was the fracture in my femur that occurred during installation of my new hip joint. This meant my weight bearing status would be different and the need for that to heal, along with my new hip, would be harder and slower. Adding in the greatest fear ever of dislocation that can occur with one wrong move, I am on hyper alert when it comes to movement.

I also didn’t anticipate the helplessness that would come with the precautions of a total hip replacement. No bending or sitting part a 90 degree bend, no crossing the legs, no twisting the leg or hip internally. So that means pulling up your pants, putting on socks, shaving your legs, reaching for a blanket, dropping your phone, scratching an itch, lifting your leg onto the bed, and so much more. For someone who gets it all done effortlessly this is an abrupt stop to my life.

The simplest of things seem like an ordeal.

Then the WEDGE. The surgeon is very adamant about post-op precautions, especially with a fracture, and sleeping is the craziest thing ever. Between my legs is a large foam wedge that I have secured with four velcro straps to prevent any internal rotation. I also have my blood clot prevention pumpers pushing air in and out around my legs all night. Add in the compression socks that are so tight and itchy. All of this means that I am basically on my back, secured into one position for the night that I cannot get in or out by myself.

Talk about vulnerability.

Lying in bed while I am completely immobilized is the purest of vulnerability. What an opportunity to sit with equanimity and be neutral in the midst of emotional and physical restraint.

I also had no idea the volume of pain I would experience with this. I knew of course there would be pain but the deep, stabbing and burning pain around the joint is unreal. The fracture adds to the pain and the swelling has taken my once toned and slim leg back two decades when I weighed 80 pounds more. Looking down at my leg and seeing the size of my thigh is startling, but it is also temporary.

I know that this week has brought me so much in the form of grace and letting go. It has also invited me to receive like I have never received in my life.

For now, I am icing, walking, resting, and working on allowing the vulnerability to flood my daily experience while also accepting the equanimity that brings a steadiness to me.

Disappointment

“Disappointment is a stepping stone to resilience. It toughens you up and prepares you for the challenges that lie ahead.” ~ Michelle Obama

Disappointment is such a strange thing. In my mind I know that all disappointments lead to some sort of lesson or growth, if we choose to look for it. It may be that we learn our own value, how to walk away, or even deep acceptance. Regardless of the lesson, it usually comes after experiencing some version of disappointment.

Most people already know of some pretty major disappointments that I’ve experienced in my life that have led me to greatness.

I’ve taken one of the biggest disappointments in my life and turned it in to my purpose and my passion.

What a lot of people don’t know is that for over 20 years I have struggled with the disappointment of my body. I have sat in pain management clinics for that duration trying spinal injections, varieties of medications, alternative methods, and eventually facing the pain with resiliency and movement. The disappointment fueled me to be stronger and stronger. It guided me to places I didn’t know I had in me. I faced the disappointment of many diagnosis with the fire to fight back.

The early weeks of January 2016 I experienced a new pain. A horrific pain. Within a few weeks I learned I had torn tissue in my hip. Three surgeries over the course of 18 months, and once again I am ten days away from yet another hip surgery.

I have needed this surgery for over a year but put it off last February because the timing wasn’t right. It’s right now.

In my preparation to get my body at its best form and fullest strength going into this big one. I have been consistently strength training five times a week for over two years. Refining my muscles and gaining strength and confidence has been empowering.

But, disappointment shows up again.

The familiar pain that grinds deeps into the lower back. That pain that prevents movement. Startling pain that makes my breath short and shallow. Pain that has brought me to the hospital twice unable to move in the past. The pain that makes my world shatter.

Not now. It can’t be now.

  • I need to be strong.
  • I need to be healthy.
  • I need to not hurt this much.
  • I need my back to settle down so I’m strong for my new hip and I need this disappointment to move along.

Or, is this disappointment inviting more resilience than I knew I had? Is it showing me what I have in me to face the challenge?

Maybe it’s both. I need to not hurt like this AND I need to be reminded of my strength and ability to overcome.

Being Honest

is being honest
about
my pain
that
makes me invincible.

Nayyirah Waheed

Most times when we do experiences pain, we deny it for a multitude of reasons. In my case I used to deny my pain so that I was always viewed as strong. I am still not super open about my personal pain but I am realizing more and more that may not be the way. Finding fellowship with others can add value to our lives and sometimes it’s nice to not feel alone.

Usually when we talk about pain, we talk about how much pain impacts us negatively. I mean, there is truth in that. Typically when we are experiencing pain, either emotional pain or physical pain, it doesn’t lend itself to creating the best life. And feeling weak is also not a fun feeling and sadly, it usually goes hand in hand with pain.

Over the years I have been on both sides of that spectrum. I have felt deep, emotional pain and deep loss and I have endured incredible physical pain that few really know about. I have minimized and usually have kept quiet about much of my pain. I have also created an amazing life and career that I believe would not have evolved without pain.

Certainly, at times I wish I didn’t have pain.

However for the most part, the pain that I have endured in my adult life has been nothing short of fuel to help me become the best that I can be.

Some of my first pain came when I realized that my beautiful daughter, who I dreamt of having a normal relationship with, (and doing all the things moms and daughters do), was born disabled. When realizing I would not be having those type of experiences with her, I was angry. I was deeply saddened and felt incredibly alone. I felt cheated and that life was unfair. I lived in an area of town that had a relatively upscale school system where the focus was on perfection, and her being different did not lend itself to being included. While other little girls were being invited to birthday parties, my little girl was being shunned, and people were leading their children away from her because she was different. Around the same time, this was happening, my marriage was falling apart, and soon I was a single mom with three kids and no job. Having opted to have children instead of going to college, I didn’t have many skills, other than being an incredible advocate for my daughter. I could’ve chosen to wallow in the crappy cards that I was dealt, and sit in sorrow for the loneliness and view what seemed like an insurmountable mountain that I was faced to climb all alone. Or, I could tighten up my hiking boots and get it done.

Long after my divorce when my children’s father died, I went through a similar feeling of isolation and loneliness. Even though I was in a supportive relationship at that time, his death put any last hope that I was not going to be the only parent that my children had. There was no longer any far fetched wish that he would decide one day to be involved.

A couple of marriages could be seen as failures, or they could be seen as amazing opportunities to see my part in the dysfunction of relationships, and begin to do differently. The breakups were grueling and I probably would still have pain if I chose to be the victim in them. Sure, I could give you a laundry list of all the things that they did wrong, but that would be another version of the same story where pain isn’t useful. Instead I learned to look at my part on the dysfunction and my own abandonment and anger issues. I chose to resolve the deep wounds and allow them to scar over.

I’ve lived with chronic pain for nearly 25 years. I first began to see a pain management specialist to manage my ongoing pain all the way back in 2007. At the same time, I was developing a deep love affair with Yoga. While I was hoping that the Yoga practice itself would help me manage my pain, and it has in many ways, it wasn’t the end all. Many failed surgeries and many failed attempts to reduce my pain could easily cause me to break. I could be sitting at home and complaining about what my body cannot do anymore, or I could be taking as many walks a day that I have time for while feeling the sun on my face and the breeze on my skin and feeling completely and totally alive. I could spend my days complaining about my pain or I could spend my days having compassion for those who also have pain. I could use my pain as an attention seeking tool to have people feel sorry for me, or I could use my pain in a humble way to inspire people to live their best life.

You see, we all have pain. And the way that you and I handle pain is individual. This isn’t a blast on those who maybe don’t see through the same lens that I do. I just know that my pain is what inspires me to get up every day and be the best I can for my students, my kids, those who I love, and mostly for myself.

One thing that I do know for certain is this – my experience with pain has shown me just how strong I really am. It is showing me how adaptable and innovative I am. It has shown me the very essence of my spirit. Had I not experienced the pain, I may not have ever witnessed this amazing woman who writes this post. Without becoming this amazing woman, I would not developed beautiful connections in the community where I could use the pain that I once experienced with my daughter to be an advocate for those who can’t advocate for themselves. I would not be able to sit with someone else’s physical pain because I wouldn’t understand it if I didn’t have my own.

Pain is not the enemy here. Pain is actually the gift.

My pain has made me invincible.

Here is how I used pain to turn it into some useful in my life:

  • I let go of expectations of others
  • I learned to love myself
  • I made time for me
  • I chose me
  • I let go of people who did not align with my greatest potential
  • I released negativity in my life
  • I surrounded myself with love
  • I began to pay attention to my thoughts, words and actions
  • I stopped complaining and gossiping
  • I let go of competition with others
  • I accepted myself and the choices I had previously made
  • I practiced daily gratitude which made me actively seek out good in my life
  • I forgave others and myself
  • I stopped doubting myself

Not sure where to start? I would begin by listening to the thoughts you have and the words you speak, especially about yourself. You might just see that shifting those two things to something more loving with start the process.

You got this!

Mastering the Art of Self Love

“As I began to love myself, I found that anguish and emotional suffering were only warning signs that I was living against my own truth.”

Charlie Chaplin

Self-love is the foundation and basis for all the love that flows from our hearts to others.

For many years I was a seeker of love outside of myself. In some ways we all are—we want validation and to be seen—that is normal human behavior. My trouble came when in the truthful and quiet moments with myself, I really didn’t like who I was, and actually loving myself was not even in the ball park.

Then I woke up.

I realized that my kids needed a healthy mom. They needed someone who demonstrated self love. They required a mom who was no longer angry but instead developed an acceptance for life’s hard things and took them as lessons to grow.

I also became radically aware of self care. For decades I thought self care was selfish and totally for the elite. Wow, right? I came to realize that the only way I was to find pure unconditional love was to begin by loving myself unconditionally. You attract what you are.

Today I actually coach women (and men) on the power of a deliberate self care routine to help become the very best version of yourself. It’s not all about bubble baths, although those those do help tremendously.

This month I am teaching that we all have a foundation of values that sustains us, especially when life becomes hard or when we are challenged.

Self love is now one of my deepest values. It is one of the four main “roots” or “walls” that hold me up during storms. Without it, I’d crumble.

I choose self love daily by walking, working out, spending time in my garden, playing on a yoga mat, sipping nice vodka, daily gratitude, enjoying delicious coffee and of course, lavish bubble baths. One way that I combat living with chronic pain is to fight back against it with so much self love and self care through movement that my mind simply cannot focus on the pain long, because I am instead experiencing the joy of being alive.

I can’t believe that I once told myself that self love was selfish. After two decades of self love it has now become a part of everyday living. I know that without this radical practice of self love I would not be able to handle life’s challenges and I would not be able to give so much love. Truly by filling up myself with love daily, I am able to give more to others.

Don’t wait for a health crisis or a divorce to learn you are worthy.

Love yourself radically and fiercely now.

Trust me, mastering the art of self love is the best gift you’ll ever give yourself. You deserve it.

xo

Reach out to me for a free wellness consult and learn how YOU can change your mindset!

With over sixteen years experience, Stacie Wyatt is a E-500 hour Registered Yoga Teacher with Yoga Alliance, Certified Brain Injury Specialist, Life Wellness Coach, Senior YogaFit Instructor, Mind/Body Personal trainer, Stress Reduction and Meditation Instructor, Pilates Instructor, and Barre Instructor. Stacie is also certified in Integrative Movement Therapy™and is also a believer in the power and application of essential oils for health and wellness and proudly shares doTERRA essential oils.

Vulnerability Check In

Vulnerability is defined as uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure.” It’s that unstable feeling we get when we step out of our comfort zone or do something that forces us to loosen control.

Brene Brown

When I began 2023 like every other year for the last nearly two decades, I chose a word as a theme or guiding direction that I wanted to bring into my life. It never fails that the word I choose for the year is perfectly suited for the path I take that year. Some years have been incredibly hard, like the year I chose the word peace. That was one of the most challenging years of my life. Go figure. I guess Spirit was asking me to find peace while enduring chaos.

For 2023, I chose the word vulnerability.

Since we are nearly 3/4 the year through this year I thought I’d spend some time this afternoon thinking about where vulnerability has showed up in my journey this year. I chose the word vulnerability because I wanted to expose myself a bit more, let go of the controlled emotions and often staying in the comfort zone of life. I have a pretty ideal career and my life feels very well rounded and balanced, so rocking the boat a bit initially felt really daunting, but I knew I needed a nudge in the direction of being a little more open. My favorite teacher Brene Brown defines vulnerability as uncertainty, risk and emotional exposure. Oh boy. The big question is why if my life is going nearly perfect would I want to invite those three things in?

So far this year I have had the following experiences that required vulnerability:

  • I opted out of a needed hip replacement and had to advocate for my health despite the encouragement of doctors and family. I had to tap into my inner truth and openly admit that I was terrified and the uncertainty was too great. Admitting the emotion fear is not something I do easily or often. This was huge for me to openly expose an emotion.
  • Once the hip surgery was put on hold, I stepped into uncertainty by going forward with a knee surgery that was intended to bring some pain relief and hopefully stabilize the hip. Turns out the knee scope was brutal and required me to ask for much needed help and be willing to receive it. Not easy for me.
  • In early spring I did something wild and totally outside my comfort zone. I bought a Jeep that I had been working towards for many years. May seem like a no big deal for some , but for this frugal girl it was a huge deal.
  • The risk came when one day I emailed an agency about the adaptive yoga I have been offering in assisted living setting for years. I didn’t need the extra contract but as an entrepreneur you never become passive or assume the contracts you have will always want you. The risk turned into a surprisingly instant contract, but it meant I would give up my beloved Fridays off to add another commute day. I wrestled with it for a weekend and decided to give it a try. My mindset was if I felt overwhelmed I would simple be brave and say that it was more than I could handle. Also, something I don’t do easily. Just three weeks into the month, I got asked to add 16 more homes with this new agency, which took my monthly number up to 46 assisted living group homes a month. Gulp. I said yes.
  • With all the new contracts, I knew right away I would need to actively seek to mentor other yoga teachers. This meant stepping out of the shadows and exposing myself online as a teacher who thinks outside of the Western view of yoga and be actively open with my opinion and be a tad more outspoken than I tend to be when it comes to yoga. I created an online forum that I lead to educate other yoga teachers on the method I have carefully designed for adults with neurological conditions and other disabilities and be extremely exposed when it comes to my confidence. Hiding in the shadows of my work has been comfortable.
  • Once the knee healed and I was back to my normal activity, my body decided that my foot needed to fail me and I am now dealing with an extremely inflamed and severely arthritic foot. Again, I am faced with dealing with pain while running a business and a very full life. This means asking for help, taking life a little easier when I can and giving my body so much grace.
  • One day in July I got a hair brained idea to teach a virtual 30 days of yoga series, beginning August 1. That meant I needed to get myself on a yoga mat everyday and commit to showing up for myself and others. As August 1st approached I was feeling more and more pressure, but it has actually turned out to be amazing. The messages I receive on a daily basis from new students and long time students has been so fulfilling. Plus, getting on my yoga mat (or a chair) everyday has been so great. What I initially felt to be so much added stress has actually turned into so much goodness.

The year is not over and I hope that I continue to grow into my quest to be more vulnerable. I am open to allowing myself to feel more emotions and to living with uncertainty. I have learned that each day is a chance to be present in love, laugh a little more and appreciate the emotions that arise. There are moments every day that ask me to open myself up a tiny bit more to others and to life.

What’s your word of the year? Have you done a check in?

Follow me for more goodness!

Muscle Strain Support

Inside my Little Black Book of Essentials, I keep a variety of blends spanning from blends from littles, to the classic blends you will use every day, and these next few days we’ll be talking about The Athlete (aka blends and products to support your muscles, tendons, and bones).


Whether you have an affliction for a backyard game of football or you roll your ankle at the slightest uneven sidewalk, when your tendons s t r e t c h just a bit too far, this blend offers the most relief.

I apply this one to my shoulders, neck, hips and low back as soon as I feel the tension coming.

Muscle Strain Blend

? 10 drops Frankincense
? 10 drops Deep Blue
? 5 drops Copaiba
? 5 drops Marjoram
? 5 drops Lemongrass

Mix together in a 10 mL roller and top with your favorite carrier oil. Roll this on as needed.

If you have someone who loves playing sports (or is just accident prone), make sure they have this blend and a Deep Blue Stick for the support!

Oh, and not only are these oils amazing for muscle strain they have tons of they benefits and uses like supporting the skin, enhancing your mood, add lemongrass or marjoram to your favorite dishes and much more! This ebook explains all the ways to use pure essential oils. When you take that step towards wellness I will personally reach out and offer you a free wellness consult and plug you into my ongoing education and community!

Follow me for more goodness!

Choosing Life

Every morning each of us is faced with a choice—focus on the things that are challenging or focus on life.

I choose LIFE. I choose to notice the colors I see. I choose to listen to the birds that fly in and out of the yard. I choose to feel the aliveness in my body—even if that aliveness is pain. I choose to get up and live LIFE.

I choose to embrace all aspects of my experience each day and not to dwell on the parts of being human that are tough.

Pain sucks.

But I am alive, determined, magnificent, and so amazingly grateful for this life.

What do you choose?

Follow me for more goodness!

Why I Have Been Laying Low

If you follow me on social media, you may have noticed that I have been laying low the past month or so, and perhaps you have wondered why my teaching has been so much less these days. This month I had only two classes in my yoga studio and did not create any new virtual content. I have been working really hard at choosing radical self-care and balancing the demands of pretty challenging clients that I am blessed enough to see. My version of radical self-care is plenty of time to walk, working out everyday (in fact, I started an amazing strength training program five weeks ago that has rocked my world), and making the time for myself to feel my best in whatever that might be on a given day.

A couple months ago I mentioned to my doctor that I have been feeling pretty lousy, and the feeling was more than the usual chronic pain/fibromyalgia/lupus yuck that I experience most days. I explained to her that this new pain and not feeling great felt different, but I could not put a finger exactly on what I was experiencing. After listening to my symptoms she ran some additional blood tests to see if anything showed up. Indeed it did. She explained that my unexplained symptoms (extreme fatigue, soreness, loss of hair, weight loss, and overall malaise) might be contributed to very high iron levels. She ran some more tests and it was discovered that I have a single mutation of a genetic blood disorder called Hereditary Hemochromatosis. The way to remove the iron overload is a series of blood donations done fairly frequently. Many people donate blood and it is not a big deal. Well, since I am not like the average person (and if you ask my family, they will all say I am the difficult freak in the family when it comes to medical stuff), it is REALLY hard on me. It wipes me out like nothing I have ever experienced. I am exhausted, worn out, pale, puny and extremely weak for several days following my every two weeks blood letting.

At this same time, I committed to following my dermatologist insistence to begin a treatment to rid my over exposed skin to an intense skin cancer treatment. Essentially this topical treatment will eat away any pre-cancerous or cancerous cells. Because I have so much damage from the sun, he suggested I take three months to complete this protocol, rather than the usual two weeks regimen. Aye aye aye is all I can say. Imagine second degree burns and extreme itching for three months; blisters, scabs, abrasions, etc. all over my face, neck and chest. It is so uncomfortable and so painful, and really ugly.

Between the horrible blood treatments, the intense skin issues and my everyday pain and feeling miserable, I haven’t had the mojo to put on my pretty face and teach a ton of Yoga online or in my studio. These days I am lucky to make it to my assisted living sites and keep up with running a business to earn an income. The behind the scenes of any small business is bigger than one might imagine, and in normal months, it takes a TON of my energy. Over the last few months, it has been a real struggle.

So, if you see me walking in my neighborhood in a sun hat and a scarf, that is why. If you don’t see me producing tons of online content or hosting classes in my studio, that is why. If I don’t respond to your texts, emails or messages as fast as I used to, that is why. If I am grumpy and short with you, that is why.

As I teach so often, I am reminded that everything is temporary. That mindset does not mean that this is easy because it is not. But, I do try to hold on that this too will pass. My blood will be normal again. My skin will heal beautifully. I will manage my pain as I have for decades. In the meantime, I encourage each of you who is reading this to never underestimate the power of the human spirit, and also to remember that you may have no idea what kind of battle someone is fighting, so always err on the side of compassion.

Hopefully this will clear up some of the wondering some of you have had about my stepping back a bit.

Blessings to you and yours.

Tumeric Supplement

These amazing one-of-a-kind delivery system is truly remarkable. doTERRA is the first to combine CPTG Turmeric essential oil & Turmeric extract in a dual chamber capsule, creating a uniquely powerful synergy of tumerones & curcuminoids, in order to maximize the effectiveness & benefits of both compounds for a healthy inflammatory response.

TURMERIC ESSENTIAL OIL

Steam distilled from turmeric roots of the Curcuma longa plant, Turmeric essential oil encourages the body’s healthy response to inflammation and oxidative stress, & may support healthy cellular function. Turmeric essential oil has two unique chemical components, Turmerone & ar-Turmerone, that have been shown to help the body with the absorption of curcumin, offering support to the body’s natural defenses. These components make Turmeric essential oil a daily staple.

TURMERIC EXTRACT

Turmeric extract may be one of the most effective nutritional supplement in existence because it contains curcuminoids that help the body fight free radicals & have a role in protecting against oxidative damage. An important benefit of Turmeric extract is its ability to maintain a healthy inflammatory response at the molecular level.

DUAL CHAMBER CAPSULES

Research has shown that curcuminoids have poor bioavailability, but when combined with turmerones from Turmeric essential oil bioavailability can be increased. The dual chamber capsules are truly unique because they combine key ingredients together in one convenient delivery system, resulting in better absorption of Turmeric. Unlike other brands that combine Turmeric extract with agents like black pepper extract, the dual chamber capsule is a more natural approach. You do NOT need to take Black Pepper when you take these capsules, since the essential oil increase the bioavailability 11 times & acts as an agent to help the curcuminoids absorb better!

Supports inflammatory response, reduces discomfort in joints, supports mood, fights free radicals, antioxidant, supports healthy cellular function & metabolism, neurological support & protects against oxidative damage!

These are game changers in living a life of inflammatory response. Living with lupus and fibromyalgia, and being a Pitta Dosha, I tend to run pretty hot all the time. I take these every single day and cannot imagine not having these as support.

Learn more about these amazing supplements here.

The Practice of Svadhyaya (Self Study)

Svadhyaya asks you to suspend looking outside for perceptions of yourself, and instead, look at your inner life–your beliefs, your priorities, and your actions. -Suzan Colon

The term svadhyaya literally means ‘one’s own reading’ or ‘self study’. It is is the fourth niyama of patnajali’s sutras and has the potential to deepen our yoga way beyond the mat.  My favorite translation or definition of this beautiful inner work called Svadhyaya refers to any activity wherein we quietly study ourselves and reflect upon our actions, thoughts, emotions, motivations, aspirations, desires and needs in pursuit of a deeper experience of our lives and our own selves.

The physical aspects to the yoga practice offers the perfect opportunity to explore svadhyaya.

To create each posture you must move and place the various parts of your body into a shape on a rectangle. You could do this without any real engagement or awareness, carelessly going through the motions while your mind is a million miles away, or you could work towards staying present with each and every moment as it arises. You could notice how the body responds to being aligned a certain way, observe physical sensations, watch how your mind reacts to what you’re doing with your body, experience any emotions that show up, and listen to the ebb and flow of your breath. 

Often when we’re practicing yoga on the mat discomfort—or sometimes pain—becomes evident.

If we slow down, apply this form of self awareness, or svadhyaya, and truly contemplate what’s happening in our bodies and minds, pain becomes an important teacher. We can examine the subtleties of pain and begin to understand the difference between “bad pain” that is harmful and injurious to our bodies; and “good pain,” mild or moderate discomfort that we can stay with, breathe into and observe as it shifts and changes.

Since my first hip surgery in 2016, I have greatly avoided the physical practice and therefore, avoided this kind of deeper self-inquiry. Sure, I did some chair yoga as I taught my classes and I would occasionally unroll my mat but honestly it was more as a way to simply say that I am practicing. Truth is I wasn’t practicing at all. Or at least very often.

I might find myself being a tad more consistent and then another injury and another surgery would put me back in the same resistance and emptiness of anything closely resembling a physical yoga practice.

With great honesty I can say that as time has gone on I have made up a million excuses as to why I was not practicing a physical yoga. Some of the excuses were legitimate and some of them were downright falsehoods.

I missed my time on the mat a lot, but I still resisting it until recently when I began to choose time on the yoga mat. Rather than spend too much time in the morning reading and journaling (and avoiding the mat), I have since shortened that sitting time to spend more of my so-called ‘spirit time’ with myself on the mat. This inner work has been transformative to me in just a few weeks.

I began to feel like I had come home after years of being away. I felt like the dear old friend has returned and without any judgment she has welcomed me into the sanctuary of pure love and acceptance.

This morning as I was paying attention to the sensations within my body (while also fighting the grumblings of any ego based thoughts entering my mind about what my body used to be able to do or feel…more self-study), I realized this magnificent practice of self study is a gift that opens the doors to so many other deep discoveries. I found the voice speaking softly to me while practicing the way any dear old friend would speak; encouraging, kind, compassionate, loving. This beautiful friend reminded my body of all that it has endured and welcomed her back to feel and soak in the sensations as perfect and whole.