We all get hurt at some point in our lives: whether physically by an accident or with heartache. But as much as we want to avoid this pain, he can be a good teacher. In this article, Sinah talks about her experience with her unwanted teacher, a slipped disc, and what she learned from the forced break. She shares her positive beliefs that have brought her through the challenges of healing.
Can an injury also be a relief?
In 2018, after months of discomfort and pain in my shoulder and spine, I finally got the diagnosis and certainty: A slipped disc in my cervical spine. This is of course not so easy for someone who lives off his body. But I was surprisingly relaxed and, to be honest, also relieved. Relieved because I am "legitimately" allowed to take a break. I really love my job, only I have been dancing at many weddings for a long time. Often I worked a little bit every day for weeks without having a whole day off. In between I don't have any appointments, but sometimes I have a whole weekend off? Phew, that was rather long ago. That's why I share what this herniated disc taught me.
When you turn your hobby into a profession, you often don't know when fun and leisure time starts and work stops.
Sounds like the dream, and it mostly is. I can't imagine anything else, but like all things there are light and dark sides. Somehow you get the feeling that you are working all the time and at the same time you don't know what work is anymore. I expect a lot from myself and I am rarely satisfied. Now I had this injury, this very clear wear and tear of my body that tells me I have to change something. Especially if I want to continue living off my body. I have been doing intensive sports since I can remember: gymnastics and dancing as a child and since I was 15 years old I have been teaching groups. In school I was in the sports advanced level course and then I went to the TU Munich for my studies Scientific Foundations of Sports and parallel to this I had a professional dance education. Followed by 8 months in New York to train and since my return in 2014, intensive teaching in Munich. I consider myself lucky that it is such a clear diagnosis and well curable injury. Already after less than a week I felt progress.
What has my herniated disc taught me?
"I know deep inside of me, after that everything will make sense and I will see what this incredible pain and the compulsion to rest was good for. Not for long and then I'll be back, but it will certainly take another 1-2 months before I'm back to some extent in my old form" - I thought optimistically. Now it is 2.5 years later and I have to smile about my naivety, because it took me 1 year to practice a full yoga class again. To this day I still get a pull on my neck when I fall into unhealthy posture patterns, overwork myself or have not done my exercises for a long time. This disc is a persistent teacher. But I now understand the sense behind this injury, because I have finally learned to invite more peace and balance into my life. Healing needs rest and time, no matter what kind of injury you have. I finally allow myself more freedom, meditate daily and have experienced the value of deceleration on my own body. But above all, this time of pain has made me more empathic and understanding for the pain of others. They even say that you are only a really good yoga teacher when you have been seriously injured yourself.
"Practice what you preach" can be so difficult.
Before that I preached all the qualities like allowing rest, doing less, relaxing and devotion to the moment, but hardly lived myself. Probably this is why I thematize it so much, because it is the most difficult thing for me. This pressure that you put on yourself and have already learned in school, where achievement was the only thing that counted, just reduce it and replace it with goodwill for yourself. But how am I supposed to get something out of my system if it has been taught to me unconsciously for so long that it has become part of my DNA? Practice, practice, practice and slip into the role of the observer, as I do through such texts. Here are a few mantras and sentences to which I return again and again when I threaten to drown in self-doubt, stress and pressure to perform:
"The best servant takes care of himself first" - Gwyn Williams
"Trust the Universe" - my favorite mantra
"You are enough - you do enough"
"Recharge and surrender"
Use one of the mantra in your next meditation for every breath you take or if you fall into a similar pattern and get caught. This helps me immensely. I hope you either don't feel this way at all or these mantras will help you too.
For further inspiration and in-depth information, there is the podcast episode "How problems become challenges. from the Kale&Cake podcast.
I like to come to a retreat with me to slow down for a whole week.
Thanks for your trust and see you soon,
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The photos are all by Susanne Schramke: https://susanneschramke.com