The sankalpa for August, “I nurture my physical body in healthy and loving ways” is a timely one for this season of viruses and flus.
Only last week I was left with little choice other than to ‘Be still and heal’ while healing from a virus. The less-wise earlier version of me would have tried to soldier on through the illness, sharing the infection with those I met, and doing untold damage to my immune system. Because I know now to be more nurturing and loving to myself, I listened to the doctor and cancelled my classes for a few days. I had only recently been telling a friend that she needed to stop and heal, and here I was faced with practicing what I preached.
In some things I do feel authentic in my practices, such as using mandalas for meditation. (I have personally been doing this regularly for years, so I am excited to be sharing this healing activity at the Rockhampton Art Gallery during August.) However, taking a step back and resting when I need to heal is a much greater challenge to me. I suspect I am not alone in this because it is ingrained in our culture to not let anyone down; but to push through an illness and not rest and recover is in fact a form of physical abuse. We need a shift in values that realises the importance of nurturing ourselves ‘in healthy and loving ways.’ Surely this can only better enable us to be more nurturing and loving towards others.
In choosing to do our yoga we are on the path towards health and happiness. Many asanas, such as inversions for example are beneficial to our endocrine and immune systems. Yoga does more than give us strength and flexibility. Giving it a priority in our busy lives is essential to our overall wellbeing. That said, there are times when a more restorative style of practice is a wiser option than to doggedly persist with a stronger practice at times when we are low on energy. A few gentle stretches in the morning was all I could manage for days. I must confess, I struggled with feelings of guilt about not making it to some of my classes last week, but without a voice and practically no energy at all, I can’t imagine how I expected to be of any help to anyone. Our mind and emotions play these little games with us, distorting our grasp on reality. Had my doctor been less insistent, I do believe I would have tried to drive to Rockhampton the next day, but because she looked directly in my eyes and stared me down, “Cancel your classes. Do not do anything but rest,” I dutifully did as she advised. The best outcome is that after a few days I was noticeably better. Meanwhile I have spoken to other people who are still unwell after weeks of pushing through the same virus. It is a lesson long overdue for me and so I hope you learn from my experience and follow my example. Nurture your physical (and mental and emotional) body in healthy and loving ways. We each deserve to rest if we need to, and we all desrve to live happy and healthy lives. Namaste.