When I was in my late teens I injured my right shoulder and I’ve had issues with it ever since: in its mildest form it’s shown up as stiffness and loss of range of motion, and more severely, shooting pain and numbness down my right arm. To put it in context, I’ve had this issue for about 35 years. Although various forms of exercise and movement have helped to a certain degree, recently it had gotten worse again I think primarily because I had taken a break from yoga, and when I started practicing again I was trying to do the same postures I was able to do when I was in my yoga prime, while I had in fact lost some strength and flexibility.
About a year ago my friend Genya took over a local yoga studio (Indigo Yoga Barre) and I felt drawn to attending the various classes as often as possible so I purchased a year-long membership. It was at this time that I touched into a determination to heal my shoulder by using the principles of deep healing. I intuitively knew that it had some great lessons for me and I was ready for them. I can see now that everything that followed unfolded from this true and heart-felt commitment. I brought deeper listening to my shoulder in my quiet times and felt inclined to to attend mostly restorative and gentle yoga classes.
In November, during a 40 day silent retreat it became very clear to me that any time I efforted in meditation I felt a profound tension in the core of my shoulder. Even though I was sitting completely still, a constriction would happen in my shoulder when I noticed stressful mental patterns. This was a revelatory and important piece for me. I continued to give my attention to this pattern with as much gentleness as I could, and began to appreciate how my shoulder was slowly teaching me how to effort less and trust more.
When I got back from my retreat I enlisted Genya’s help and had a couple of body work treatments from him. He gave me some good tips and exercises that I could do at home and encouraged me to stay committed as it might take a while. He offered to massage my shoulder once a week in exchange for home-made soup! Of course I was up for this. It was profound for me to feel safe enough to relax and completely let go into his touch, and that he really cared about my healing.
Meanwhile, I was feeling inclined to take more and more challenging yoga classes and found that one of the instructors named Rachel was teaching in a way that I found particularly enjoyable and meaningful. She reminded us often and with quite a bit of detail how to use the shoulders and arms for safety and strength. With her encouragement and my body’s guidance I modified postures as needed, and continued to develop a deeper respect for my body’s alliance on my soul’s journey.
Last April, on day 4 of the Community Juice Fast and Cleanse that I lead twice a year I took one of Rachel’s classes at Indigo Yoga and was experiencing flexibility and strength that had somehow increased exponentially since my last class. I had never encountered such a striking shift in my physical state in so little time. The juice fast process had obviously decreased whatever inflammation that was restricting my range of motion and I found myself easily doing hand positions like reverse prayer and certain above the head arm positions that I had not been able to do in years. That class was the culmination of the results of everything I had been guided to do up to that point and led to this seeming sudden unlocking of my shoulder and the rest of my body.
I would say that my shoulder is 90% healed now and it continues to inform me. In the process I’ve gained not only a more comfortable body but more importantly to me I’ve ‘lost’ some stressful mental and emotional patterns.
Also, although I’ve mentioned some key components to my shoulder’s healing no doubt many other choices have contributed. I tell you this story not to give you a formula for healing but to encourage you to remember some key principles when you are inspired to heal deeply:
- any physical symptom is a call to align more deeply with your true self
- when you are deeply committed to healing, every step will be shown to you in ways that you cannot plan
- be still, quiet, humble… this is how we open to the body’s messages
- you will be led to a multi-dimensional approach that could include movement, body and/or energy work, nutritional adjustments, therapy, taking an honest look at relationships, more ‘down-time’, more sleep, time in nature, etc.
- any physical symptoms that are in the process of healing will excavate deeply held emotions … do your best to allow these to flow through and be expressed in appropriate ways
- even though you may not see physical results at first, deeper mental, emotional and energetic shifts need to happen first
- trusting others to support us is part of the healing
- most symptoms took a long time to appear and it will generally take a while for them to disappear
- Life wants you to heal … trust
(My life calling to guide others to evolve into who they truly are, to enjoy a healthy vital body, and to flourish in all ways is reflected in all my offerings but particularly the year-long Deep Healing course.)