I’ve been practicing yoga for over six years. I cherish the time I create for myself to attend a yoga class, work on my practice while surrounded by like minded people, and finish with a rejuvenating savasana before heading back to my hectic life. That time is sacred to me. In the craze of managing a work-life balance, that time keeps me sane.
For the past six months, my yoga practice has taken a new direction. In September, I noticed a growth on the top of my wrist — a large, swollen bump that caused slight but tender pain. After a few weeks of monitoring it, I saw that the bump got larger with use, and became almost non-existent if I was careful not to use my right hand more than I absolutely needed to. I started substituting running outdoors when I would normally seek out a vinyasa class. I still practiced yoga at home, but it became harder to put together a flow without the vinyasa sequence that I had become so familiar with during traditional classes (which, if you aren’t familiar, puts a lot of pressure on your wrists).
I finally went to a hand and wrist doctor to figure out what this thing was and how I could get rid of it. He diagnosed me with a ganglion cyst, which is basically a fluid build-up near a joint or tendon. We tried the less invasive option of draining the cyst first (with a huge needle, which was absolutely disgusting to watch), but a few weeks later the pain was back, and the bump formed again. I needed to get the cyst surgically removed if I wanted it gone for good. Although a relatively easy out-patient surgery, I was still terrified, because it would be the first real surgery I would have and I had no idea what to expect. But, I missed my regular yoga practice in a very real way, similar to how I’ve felt in the past when I miss a friend whom I haven’t seen in a while, and I knew that this would be the first step toward healing.
It’s been a couple of weeks since the surgery and my wrist seems to be healing well. It’s still swollen and the stitches look like something out of Frankenstein, but I can type and cook and do my normal daily activities without much pain.
Throughout this process, I’ve had a recurring thought that’s popped up when I start to feel frustrated about my limitations, or the pain, or the recovery progress. It’s something that I’ve heard in many yoga classes and have repeated to myself on many occasions when I need a grounding reminder. Be where you are. Sit with the pain. Deal with the frustration. Feel the healing. Express thankfulness and gratitude toward your body for being able to go through such an intensive procedure and come out stronger for it. Even on a mental and spiritual level, I’ve had to remind myself this as I struggled internally to sit and meditate in my room instead of attend a 90-minute hot yoga class. I had to speak this truth when I spent two full days after the surgery unwilling to move from the couch, redefining the Netflix Binge as I never had before. Rather than criticize myself for being “unproductive” or “lazy,” I had to ground myself and remember that this is all part of the recovery process. I had to mentally check myself and remember that it’s not a race. Take notice and appreciate life for what it is. Be where you are.
I plan to incorporate intentions such as this one in my posts as a way to bring more mindfulness to my writing. Let me know what you think and if there is anything you’ve struggled with, whether it be a physical, mental, emotional or spiritual set back, and how being where you were was able to help you along your path.
Love and light,