For those who may not have heard, I had a total hip replacement in January of this year. Although the healing is going well, I still have weakness and pain during certain movements like lunge pose with my right leg forward. During a recent physical therapy session, I was working on a lunge exercise while holding a ten pound weight in my hands. It was a very challenging exercise for me and I must have been making a strained face, pursing my lips, and slouching forward with my shoulders when I heard my PT say, “Lift your torso and upright yourself, Todd.” There was something about the way the phrase, “Upright yourself, Todd” sounded that struck a chord deep in my heart. When I lifted my chest and “uprighted” myself, the pain in my hip went away! With shoulders back and my abdominal core engaged, the strength in my hip returned. The pain dissolved and I felt free again.
Since my surgery, the healing process has taken place in stages. At first, everything seemed to heal quickly and within six weeks I was back to most of my normal daily activities, including biking, swimming, and teaching yoga. Then the healing process seemed to slow down and for the last several months it’s been painstakingly slow. Although I’m 90% healed, the last 10% has been an uphill battle. My surgeon told me that because of the nuanced demands of yoga that I’ve put on my hip, the healing is taking longer than some. Total healing can sometimes take one to two years.
Slowing down is not one of my strengths. I have a lot of enthusiasm for what I do. But after this PT session, I had the realization that I’ve been fighting with my healing process by wanting it to go faster than it is. I’ve had a subtle resistance around the whole thing – the continued pain in certain movements, the weakness, and I also have shortness of breath and exhaustion during swim workouts. My hip has forced me to slow down. The phrase, “Upright yourself, Todd” revealed the fact that I’ve been resisting and making my healing process wrong. I’ve been subconsciously tough on myself, impatient, pessimistic, and even doubtful that I’ll be able to heal fully. Wow! Where did this negative attitude come from? I have no idea. But since I’ve been aware of my impatience, I’ve been able to release the subtle resistance and accept my process of healing. My strength is building and the pain is beginning to dissolve.
I’ve had to come into a deeper acceptance and realization of my body’s need to heal in its own time which isn’t necessarily my time. Secretly I was trying to speed up the process. The rounding of my shoulders was an inner response colored by a core wounded identity of shame. On the surface, my life has been going great. But deep down I’ve been making myself wrong and bad for having had the surgery. Seeing this pattern, I’m more able to turn that inner conversation around to a more positive approach, “Upright yourself, Todd.” Make yourself right. Let go of the thoughts that something is wrong with me. My PT said that it was as if my lower and upper bodies were disconnected. My core had frozen. It’s normal to experience some disconnect due to the shock of the trauma of the hip surgery. But it’s time to reconnect.
It’s been amazing to me to see how my attitude, my inner thoughts and feelings, and my self-judgments have affected my body posture, which has slowed down my healing. I was subconsciously creating the very thing that I didn’t want to happen. As I felt sorry for myself, my shoulders rounded forward which cut off my core and inhibited the healing process. Without knowing it, I was manifesting my fear – that I would never be able to heal this (which is the story I was telling myself, and is not true).
I have my PT to thank for telling me to upright myself because on many levels, not just physical, it’s what I needed to hear. My healing journey is my healing journey. I am reconnected with my core and I choose to believe in myself and my body’s capacity to heal.
Thanks for listening.
- Close your eyes and take a deep breath. Go into your heart and reflect, without any judgment, on the phrase, “Upright yourself, (insert your name here).”Notice what happens. How does that feel?
- Reflect on any situations or areas of your life where you’ve been hard on yourself, self-critical, where you have self-doubt, or where you’ve disconnected from yourself. What is your inner conversation about your doubt? What are you afraid will happen or has happened? Allow your heart to feel what it feels without any need to defend or judge yourself. Be the compassionate witness to yourself and hold space for yourself to feel what you feel.
- Then let that go, to whatever degree you can, including not at all, and sit up or stand tall. (Take the burden of perfectionism off your shoulders. This process can still work if you are not ready or able to let go of your self-limiting beliefs. Continue this process anyway.) Lengthen your side ribs from your hips up to your armpits. Allow your collar bones to smile upwards and broaden. Now take the head of your armbones back and lift your chest. Lift your throat and take your palate back. Upright yourself.
- Reflect on your desire to make yourself right, to stand strong in who the universe has made you to be, and to be humble. Reflect on the purity of your deepest desire to do the right thing, to align with nature, to align with your inherent goodness as a human being. Reflect on your innermost desire for freedom from suffering.
- Then upright yourself again. Lift your torso and take the head of your armbones back. Hold yourself in the highest esteem. Honor yourself because you are the embodiment of God/Goddess in the flesh. Know that you are the crystallization of the divine’s desire to know itself. That the universe has your back. The universe believes in you. Choose to upright yourself and believe in yourself again. Choose to stand with and for yourself.
- Notice how that feels in your body. Then slowly open your eyes and journal your experience and any insights that arose.
Uprighting yourself is precisely what happens in all of my workshops and trainings! Ashaya Yoga brings you back to your heart where you recognize your inherent goodness. You reconnect with yourself and get back in touch with your purpose, your strength, your belief in yourself. You come home to your heart where you are loved. Join me to Upright Yourself at these upcoming workshops:
October 6, 2018 in Grand Rapids, MI:Happy Hips, Happy Life
October 19-21, 2018 in White River Junction, VT: The Art of Masterful Living
October 26-28, 2018 in McLean, VA: Tantra Yoga Immersion
November 9-11, 2018 in Leyden, MA: Yoga Anatomy Refinement with Ellen Saltonstall
November 16, 2018 in Sarasota, FL: Unforgettable Hands-On Adjustments
November 16-18, 2018 in Sarasota, FL: Tantra Yoga Immersion
See my full schedule here.