Self Study

One of the main observations of Yoga is called svadhyaya, or self study. A good little Yogi is like a scientist and a specimen all at the same time! The Yoga mat is a formal place where we conduct experiments, take notes, create hypothesises and challenge them. Then the real world is where we put our scientific research to use, and possibly also conduct and research more experiments. Anyways, life is one great experiment, and through the observance of svadhyaya, Yoga reminds us to always be in tune to what it is we’re up to and take detailed notes.

Lately, I’ve been really in tuned with my body. Ever since my hamstring injury in June, my body has not been the same. At first I blamed it on not doing power Yoga as much. Then I figured it’s just healing. But lately, I can honestly feel the difference in my physical self. My pelvis feels off–real off–like it’s a see-saw tilted to one side. My ankle keeps screaming to me every time I drive for more than five minutes, and I’ve notice this strange little twist my foot does when I’m walking. Something is not right. At night when I lay in bed, I scan over my body with my mind, like a scanner does a document, and I’ve come to many conclusions, only to dismiss them because what do I know. I’m not a doctor. Plus, I’ve never had an injury to this extreme, so what do I have to compare it too?

But like I spoke earlier in my Mindful Nutrition post, we do have the answers. We know ourselves better then anyone, any doctor, any prescribed this or that. Our subconscious that has been here for lifetimes before us, knows what’s up and speaks to us in mysterious ways. We have to remember to be observant little scientists to pick up on its clues. As silly as this sounds, I started (what seems out of nowhere) wanting to draw anatomy. The last couple evenings I’ve sat with my old Artist Anatomy book copying the pelvis bone, the spinal cord, and the musculature system. Hansel asked me why I was doing that…and I answered with “I’m not sure.” Then it hit me. Right that second. I need to go to the doctor. I need to figure out what’s up with my body inside. My art doesn’t lie—instead of peaceful watercolors my subconscious is bringing forth anatomy dissections.

Except, what is a doctor going to do, I asked myself. The thought of sitting in a waiting room forever just to have a doctor look at my leg and maybe prescribe a few drugs makes me cringe. I need something else. Then it occurred to me that maybe a chiropractor is the answer. I need someone that can address this feeling that I have about my pelvis bone, and the way I feel half my body is on a tilt–like those old V8 commercials!

My dear friend Malinda suggested her chiropractor that she has used for years, and once actually worked for. I called him during my break this morning, explained my injury and the way I’ve been feeling lately, and told him I was a bit skeptical of chiropractors. He was beyond nice, comforting, and scheduled me for today after school.

What an incredible experience. He was extremely personable and sat and listened to everything I had to say. I explained to him exactly what I’ve stated here in Dirty Footprints, and he won me over with his confidence and knowledge about the body. After a few tests, my Doctor took me in a room for an x-ray of my pelvis. When he placed my developed x-rays on the light board my first reaction was: “Do we need to take it again—was I standing crooked?” Yeah. That is how unbelievably tilted my pelvis actually is. Just like my subconscious has been telling me the past week. All my prognosis was actually correct, my Doctor proved it with his same conclusions.

This whole experience, from my terrible hamstring mishap in June, to laying on the table in the chiropractor today, has brought me great gratitude. I feel this injury, this set-back, this hindrance in my life, has been one of my greatest teachers. It has granted me the insight to decipher my subconscious—it has introduced me to the complex systems that create this vehicle that houses my soul–and has deepen my Yoga practice in ways I would have never done in simply sweating like crazy in a Power Yoga class. How many times do we doubt ourselves in a day? How many times do we dismiss that little voice in our head? Or silent the little clues that come up when we journal, write in our diary, or talk to ourselves when we are all alone? That’s our subconscious talking baby. That’s the part of ourselves Yoga asks us to study…that is the part of ourselves that has the answers…that’s been doing this living thing for a long, long, long time.

Peace & Love.

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