Reframing Disabilities with Yoga

I am a walking testimony about the benefits of yoga.  Several

years ago my prognosis with chronic disabling back pain was

grim.  I was getting epidural injections bi-monthly just to walk,

and was facing life in a wheelchair.  Having retired early from

this disability, I resumed a regular yoga practice and found

it helpful.


I rediscovered the magic of deep yogic breathing to help ease

spasms and pain.  I would send my exhale in my mind’s eye to

the areas of greatest sensation.  I also incorporated the yogic

practice of detachment.  I would observe back spasms without

narrative or attachment.  This allowed me to reduce the amount

and duration of muscular tensing.  Rather than fight the pain, I

practiced accepting it, and the intensity would often subside.

I performed the yoga poses slowly, coordinating my movement

with my breath, to avoid further injury or pain.  I started

gradually and deepened the poses as my body was able.

With a dedicated practice, I was able to restore a sense of well-

being, strength, balance, flexibility, and posture.  Where pain had

ruled my mental focus, I found myself able to think clearly.


Did yoga heal me completely?  No.  I still get injections, even after

a successful back surgery and daily yoga practice.  I only need

a couple each year now.  I no longer drag my right leg and can move

the toes.  I don’t need a cane or wheelchair for mobility.  For me,

that’s amazing and worth sharing with others!


I credit yoga with my ability to function better today.  Because of

my experience, I choose to share my practice with others

who want to age gracefully or who may be dealing with mid-life

aches, pains and even chronic issues.  Teaching a few yoga classes

each week maximizes my work ability at this time.  And I am content.

I accept myself as I am, rather than focusing on what I no longer

am able to accomplish or earn.  As an experienced registered yoga

instructor, I keep my public class fees affordable and accessible to

all.  I want others to also experience the transformative mind/body

health benefits of a gentle yoga practice.