Constant Healing by Janelle Gallison
This blog was contributed by a current member of the Grateful Yoga 200 hour teacher training program. Thanks so much for sharing your experience, knowledge and words with us, Janelle!
I knew that we can heal physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. What I didn’t know is that sometimes healing needs to be done in more than just one realm… Hell, maybe even all of them.
I have been physically healing from a low back issue that had manifested into something bigger than usual. It started with a ‘tweaky’ feeling from my misaligned sacrum. This would cause my hips to rotate and I would feel off center. Not a biggie, I was working on my yoga practice daily. Each day, I practiced lengthening and strengthening my body; I felt confident that I could get this under control and it would straighten out. I had worked hard to finally be able to place my hands on the floor with my knees having a slight bend when practicing uttanasana (standing forward fold). With adho mukha svanasana (downward facing dog) my heels were getting closer to touching the mat than ever before.
As days slipped into weeks, I could feel that when practicing yoga I wasn’t able to perform the asanas as before. I kept pretending I could get my back into alignment but my yoga practice as I once knew it began to slip. I began to roll out the mat less and less.
Weeks now became months as I became frustrated and upset with myself. I was unable to move as I did before when in class, due to pain. I started eating poorly and in general stopped taking care of myself. Quickly it hurt to stand, walk, and sit. When it got to where it hurt to lay down, I broke down and finally called my chiropractor.
Several treatments in, I started eating better and did everything that I knew that could physically mend my body (ice, rest, etc). I was healing well, until one day I felt stuck again. I felt stagnant in my progress. I was frustrated because I wanted to get back to my yoga practice. The most that I could do was cat\cow, savasana and a few other simple stretches. I wanted to do more, but I was physically unable to.
I called out to the universe, asking what more was I to do to help with my healing? It responded.
At my next visit my chiropractor stated that my first two chakras were in need of my attention. I knew about the chakras, that there are seven and that they start at the base of our spine up to the top of our head. I knew that they are energy wheels (‘chakra’ in Sanskrit translates to wheel). I also knew that when they are blocked can cause imbalances, which I thought were mostly emotional or mental. What I didn’t know is that misaligned chakras can cause physical issues to the associated body parts that are unbalanced spiritually. This was a HOLY SHIT moment for me, this was my answer from the universe: not only did I need to heal physically, I had to heal emotionally, mentally and spiritually.
Physically the first chakra, Muladhara, is also known as the root and earth chakra. It is associated with the adrenal glands, feet, legs (sciatica) and low back. Which were all (minus the adrenal gland) affected within me. Spiritually when the Muladhara is unbalanced, we are in need of grounding as our heads are in the clouds but our feet are not planted to keep us from drifting away from reality. As this is the root chakra, it is also associated with survival, ego and confidence. Yup, all me again!!
The second chakra, Svadhisthana, the sacral chakra, is also known as the water chakra. Physically this chakra affects lower back, kidney and uterine problems, impotence and the prostate. When it is unbalanced mentally and emotionally it can affect creativity, self worth, intuition, energy and social interactions. Where the root chakra gave us the roots, the Svadhisthana gives the life force to enjoy those roots.
As I continue to learn more about these two chakras (and the others), I am grateful as I find more ways that I am constantly healing. I am finding that I can truly start to love myself and take care of myself in ways that I didn’t even know existed. Even though I am further along in my healing and I can now do extremely modified poses, I am starting to see that this is where I am NOW. My downward dog is with extremely bent knees and my heels are not even close to touching the ground, but two weeks ago I wasn’t even able to do that. And standing forward fold? My knees are bent and my hands make it to a little below my knees. As long as I continue to recognize that healing is needed physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually, I will be able to recover in ways that are beyond just muscle and bone. I have discovered that by growing, it’s possible that we are capable of constantly healing.