I teach yoga to cancer survivors.
A client asked me the other day whether to continue yoga because of his pain. His cancer is causing great discomfort in general, but also because of its location, he finds it hard to move into certain poses because of the pain it creates. His question is, are these poses of benefit to me anymore?
Now if he was not ill and/or in chronic pain, I would say, in ha’tha yoga, we should not strive for a place where our bodies are hurting. That is just teaching us what we are already good at. We push into and beyond our limits, of pain, of sleep, of health. We hurt ourselves and keep going. There is this bizarre notion of being the superhero. Superhuman. We can do anything we set our minds to. We can do an hundred things at once and keep it all going with the proper amount of caffeine and ibuprofen.
So many questions really behind that one. So many. My first response in my heart (but not out of my mouth) is surround yourself in love. Soak yourself in love from yourself and from others. If this life has become a constant state of physical pain, then too, get as much sleep as you can. The pain wears us down, and we need to recharge. Sometimes the pain won’t allow us to sleep, and then we need assistance. But if you’re not in that place, then sleep well, eat moderately and healthily, and move as gently as you can. But I would say keep moving. Keep something moving. Your fingertips, your mouth, your eyelids, your breath. And maybe that is what we all end up with, us sitting very quietly feeling our breath move through and actually move our bodies, expanding and releasing. Just as we are on this planet, first expanding and then releasing.