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12 Nov 2019


Blog from Ambassador Thirza van de Hoef.


As a yogini / yogi (or athlete) we all have to deal with it once: injuries. It is an unavoidable fact. Not because yoga is now such an injury-sensitive practice, but because of the simple fact that we are all human.

Man with our qualities and our limitations. Man with challenges and pitfalls. Man with a head that thinks and a body / heart that feels. People in whom both of these factors are not always in balance. Somewhere we encounter confrontation with ourselves. Whether that is after a few weeks, months or a few years. This does not mean that when that happens, we must resolutely stop yoga, or look for another form - or another teacher. This simply means that at that moment we are offered the opportunity to stop and consider the question: "What does this tell me?"

Injuries give you the opportunity to become more aware, to wake up and to take yourself to a deeper level, both in your development and in your practice.

I have been struggling with a wrist injury for years. Not because of yoga, but a sign that my life was resolute. After 5 surgeries I hardly have any rotation in my wrist joint and, unfortunately, still have daily pain. After my umpteenth operation my doctor said, looking at the minimal movement of my wrist and hand: “Well, you just have to learn to live with the fact that it won't get any better than this. You will always have a disability and you will also have to learn to live with the pain. ”I am grateful for the fact that I was so self-conscious at the time that I did not believe that what a doctor believed was also my truth. And I went to investigate.

Because of this I discovered that my body thought differently than this doctor!

It took a while and my search was a long one, but after a few years I found yoga ... or yoga actually ... And step by step the renewed contact with my body began to take shape. I learned to look at my body differently. Not so much as something that had to adapt to my will, but as something that had enormous wisdom of itself and steered me throughout the process.

Now, years later, I do yoga on a daily basis, I am constantly downward facing dog, I do my low shelves, I am happy to stand on my hands ... and I enjoy this.

My trial is still ongoing. What can I do, what can't I do, what do I have to adjust, what is good for me and for my wrist? Sometimes it is big adjustments or the realization that that one attitude is simply not there. Sometimes minimal and subtle adjustments ... just a bit more to turn the forearm, just a little more weight to the inside of my hand. And every day is different !!! I have been lucky enough to meet a number of teachers who were willing and willing to look along with me, to think along, to experiment with.

After years of ashtanga yoga I got an injury to my hip (which I also hear a lot of people in yoga about). When I first started doing vijnana yoga, my teacher - Teresa Caldas - came by and said, "Oh, I see it, too loud groins." Through this "simple" observation and guidance on her part, I became aware of the fact that I was working too much (but really too much !!) within yoga ... and beyond. That I made myself hard and forgot the softness to myself and my body. Her motto: "Do less" took me years to understand. Now it is part of my own practice. Do less does not mean doing nothing. It means that you are not trying hard to perform an attitude at all costs. That you are "performing" on your mat. It means that you work towards yourself from softness and understanding, so that hard work becomes an interplay between body and mind.

When an injury falls to you, it is often very disappointing in the first instance. It is painful and rarely or never occurs. Not to mention the time of recovery. In general we reject this injury. However, I believe we can be deeply grateful for all the injuries that come our way. They not only teach us something physical, but also show us how we move through life. So when you run into an injury: stand still, turn inside, look honestly at what you find and use your injury to gain knowledge and increase your wisdom. Make it a journey. Injuries give you the chance to become an explorer, to discover new areas of and within yourself.

The fact that my wrist and this hip injury (which occasionally still plays when I am not aware enough) force me to be aware of how I move is a blessing for me. It makes me not fall asleep. It means that I always have to be prepared to take a different path. I discover and rediscover my body time and time again. This gives an incredible amount of great challenges and fun. And I have found that the body has enormous adaptability and that it is capable of incredible things.

Richard Freeman says: "Yoga starts with listening." And he is right. And to be able to listen well you have to be quiet. Listening makes us aware and lets us turn inside. And only when we really start listening are we able to hear the messages that are handed to us.

Thirza van de Hoef

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