Tuesday, June 17, 2014

No Mud, No Lotus (On Suffering, Injury and Tattoos)

Through my struggle, I am developing compassion.

My back has been hurting again this week. I think it became aggravated during a chair twist, one I demonstrated while I was teaching. I wasn't careful, and now there’s pain again.

I've been frustrated. I cried about it. My ego showed up, saying, “What did I do to deserve this? Why me?”

But I choose to breathe. Today I invite patience, calling upon my yoga practice.

I read recently that you can tell you've been practicing yoga for a while – that it’s working – when you notice that you’re a little slower to anger, a little more aware, that maybe you can laugh when something unexpected or uncomfortable comes along.

I think about my beautiful sleeve of lotus flowers, each of them a reminder of some pain I’ve been through.

“Most people are afraid of suffering,” Thich Nhat Hanh says. “But suffering is a kind of mud to help the lotus flower grow. There cannot be a lotus flower without the mud.”

I am in the mud, and I am the lotus.

All is exactly as it should be.

I consciously choose to adopt an attitude of gratitude for what this experience of back pain is bringing me: new appreciation for my body… new appreciation for those who support me…and a chance to step away from my mat and let my teaching be my practice. 

To see my students with adoration, and to have an intention of helping them stay safe in their yoga—good alignment, careful, integrated movement.

I even have plans to develop a class for people who are dealing with injury, and for those healing back pain. 

I have plans to use the next few months to study anatomy, to dive back in to my teacher training curriculum and expand my understanding of how each pose affects the body. And to start fundraising for my next training. 

I may be off my mat, but I am still actively involved in my yoga practice.


Longing, loss, devastation… they make way for repair. They are the mud that creates the beautiful, graceful lotus.

I invite the fullness of healing. I invite patient awareness. I invite growth. This, too, shall pass; in fact, this is already exactly as it should be.


  1. Good luck on your plans to develop a class for people who are dealing with injury, and for those healing back pain. May you be healed with your back pain as well!