Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Injuries as self-obsessive narcissism...

My last two practices of Friday and Monday were lovely, meditative practices, but for one thing... my current injuries. My right knee is bad again, swollen and irritating and I've developed a nasty pain in the front of my right hip. Not sure whether they're inter-related but I seem to remember I had an excrutiating pain in my right hip after my last retreat, just before the knees went.. Anyway, whilst they're always on my mind when practicing I think I've been sensible about it all and after 6 days of practice,  incorporating both hot yoga and ashtanga, I had the weekend off. Much deserved.

I thought that post-injury one was meant to practice more 'awareness' of the point of injury in order to be more gentle and let it heal. And I think I'm always aware in this regard; however, at what point does 'awareness' become self-obsession and even narcissistic? Richard Freeman highlights this problem in a recent blog post saying that "One can cultivate in addition to asana practice a pranayama practice, a meditation practice, and the study of various philosophies of contemplative schools. This way one can break through one’s own narcissism and can watch their own mind construct and then let go of egotistical and selfish obsessions, as the mind returns to what gives true happiness and pleasure rather than deeper and deeper frustration. Concerns with health, injuries, and looks are natural, but need to be dovetailed into a broader and deeper intention to eliminate the very root of suffering and to find genuine happiness for oneself and others."

So maybe I've somehow unwittingly passed the point at which my 'awareness' was a positive thing in my practice to a place where I am letting the injury get to me, causing frustration and a non-accpetance of my current circumstances. Maybe I need to just "let things be", surrender to the pain and cease interfering with the injuries as they arise. It's difficult though, like everything else in yoga there is more than one school of thought; one that says do this pose instead of the one which hurts and it'll make the injury better, and the other which says don't do the pose at all.

I remember being at Manu & Bella's workshop not long ago doing a modification for ardha baddha padma paschimottanasana which a teacher had told me to do because of knee pain, and Bella said, don't do that, just leave your knee on the ground and breath, let it be and let it heal. At the time I thought this was a lovely, caring thing to say, and a beautiful way to look at the practice, but that way of looking at these things soon changes and I find myself back in the previous mindset of pushing myself.

The truth is, I hate even the idea that I am self-obsessed or narcissistic, because those qualities are something I abhore in others. I need to pull myself together, take a few deep breaths, look at what I have around me and simply let things be as they are...

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