Ok, I admit it, I’m the first person to think that Yoga is a cure-all.
Just practice yoga regularly and it will sort out your back issues, your depression, your relationship problems and those last five kilos you just can’t shift. It’s the wunder-drug of the next generation.
Except when it isn’t.
I’ve been practicing Yoga – of the physical kind – for about 12 years now. And yes, it’s done amazing things for my back. I was living with chronic pain and a limp, with the possibility of more spinal surgery on the horizon, when I committed to a yoga practice. Regular practice soon took care of that chronic pain, and the limp. I never did need any more surgery.
As my awareness of my body increased, I could sense that my right hip had something going on with it… it felt… heavier, more dense, and I could sense this ‘denseness’ running down my right leg too. Forward bends and back bends continued to be difficult, and no amount of patient surrendering into what was seemed to make any difference. I felt stuck.
So I went and saw a bio-energetic healer, the talented, skilled and delightful Annis Parker. Now I don’t know exactly what it is a bio-energetic healer ‘does’, but I do know that what Annis does, works.
My right hip is where the surgeon removed hip bone to fuse in between L4 and L5 when I had my spinal fusion at age 16 (and the reason I was headed towards more surgery at 25).
Annis called this “controlled trauma”, and said that there would be cellular memory from this incident that was creating my current experience in my right hip, and down my right leg. She also explained in detail what happens anatomically during the removal of bone from a hip for a fusion – what happens to the muscles and how they chisel the bone off the hip. Annis used to be a registered nurse, and this informs her work as a bio-energetic healer.
Annis had me sit up on the bed so she could assess my energetic body, ascertaining that all was healthy and well except in a localised area around my hip and right calf. I then lay on my back, and she worked her magic. The entire session took about an hour, and when I stood up again, I felt different. Lighter, and more free through the right hip and leg.
But the proof of a healing comes in the action… and I was eager to test out Annis’s work. Lately, while walking around the South Coast, I’ve experienced pain in the right hip when going any decent distance. After Annis’s work… no pain. I took a long walk yesterday on Lyall Beach, and another long walk today from Lyall Bay towards Island Bay and back… no pain.
In fact, today I could feel into my hips and lower back in a free and easy way that I don’t recall ever having experienced. It’s delightful! It’s like having one room locked in your house and never being able to get inside… and finally finding the right key, walking inside and discovering it’s a sun-flooded, spacious room with a view.
All those years of yoga practice, and nothing shifted the stuckness and denseness around my right hip.
One session with Annis, and it appears to all be gone. My forward bends feel more free and easier, I can sit on the ground with more freedom, and my backbends feel more integrated through the lower spine and pelvis.
Sometimes just Yoga isn’t the answer. The work I did with Annis was a strong reminder of that. But she’s not the only practitioner I’ve worked with and shifted some significant issues.
Other times I’ve needed help, I’ve turned to counsellors, doctors, friends, family, and two extraordinary healers. Each of these professionals has helped me deal with aspects of healing that I wasn’t able to manage by myself with yoga.
So if there’s something that you’ve felt stuck on for a long time – despite the yoga – it might be time to ask yourself who else could help you move through this issue once and for all.
Me, I’m so excited to practice asana again, as it feels like an old holding pattern has finally melted away. Now when I bend forward, it’s not that I’m necessarily going deeper than before, but that I feel freer and softer. It feels like, with practice, I will go deeper. Bliss!