Two of those three facts sound quite contradictory, I know. But it’s where I am and I would also say the hip replacement is probably the best thing that could have happened to me.
I’m now in the third year of my British Wheel of Yoga course and my knowledge of and focus on joints and therapeutic yoga is, as you can imagine, intense. I am well aware of what chronic pain does to the mind and body; I’ve lived it. When I qualify I want to go on to specialise in therapeutic yoga and joint surgery is my particular interest.
I began practicing yoga as a teenager with my mum who went to a weekly class at a community centre in our town. My first yoga teacher was an Iyengar instructor and although I have explored and enjoyed many other forms of yoga since those early days, I have huge respect for BKS Iyengar and I would recommend Iyengar to anyone starting out in yoga.
As a teenager, yoga helped me enormously. I was having a rough time at school with being bullied and my home life was difficult; everything seemed difficult – except yoga. Yoga brought me equanimity and in that classroom I was accepted.
I dipped in and out of yoga through my twenties and thirties, trying Ashtanga for a while and really enjoying the energy. It was in my forties that the passion for yoga reignited with a commitment to training as a teacher. Iyengar, Ashtanga, Yin, Shakti and Tantra all inform my yoga practice. The boxes feel unnatural for me, I love to explore. I like my practice to move with the seasons. Now is autumn and so my practice reflects that. There’s a lot of Yin there just now.
Yoga helped me cope with the chronic pain that accompanied my arthritis and enabled me to stay focused on the long term aim of making a full recovery and getting back to a healthy, active life after my hip replacement. It helped with the short-term challenges too. Gentle ujjayi in the four-part breath, calmed me in the MRI scanner, for example.
My absolute favourite asana is Pashimottasasana. It feels like coming home. It’s so calming and such a stress-buster but it’s also a fabulous stretch for the spine, shoulders and hamstrings. Perfect for autumnal evenings.
I teach yoga to university staff in their lunch breaks where I also work full-time in the ‘day job’. Seeing people tear into the room feeling stressed and then float out 30 minutes later is a hugely fulfilling. Part-time study, a full-time job and teaching once a week is enough right now. Knowing your capacity, that’s something I’m still learning. Learning and sharing, two great joys in life.
I live in Manchester, England and you can read more about my yoga like at myyogalifetoday.wordpress.com and follow me on Twitter @DeanaDoesYoga