"Vyadhi: It will be noticed that the very first obstacle is ill-health or sickness. To the yogi his body is the prime instrument of attainment. If his vehicle breaks down, the traveller cannot go far. If the body is broken by ill-health, the aspirant can achieve little. Physical health is important for mental development, as normally the mind functions through the nervous system. When the body is sick or the nervous system is affected, the mind becomes restless or dull and inert and concentration or meditation become impossible."
-B.K.S. Iyengar, Light on Yoga, 34th paragraph of the Introduction.
Sickness can be seen as an obstacle or distraction to Yoga. And Yoga can also be the medicine for Body, Mind and Spirit.
"Yoga teaches us to cure what need not be endured and endure what cannot be cured."
The thing is that we all bring our imperfections to Yoga. I see Yoga as welcoming what is. Yoga is a spiritual methodology for working with Obstacles. So here is an obstacle: Sickness.
Mr. Iyengar had sickness as a child that he brought to Yoga. And he was able to overcome it through dedication to his Practice.
My Yoga revealed a sickness I didn't even know I had. My heart was totally denied. The world I experienced up to the time I started to get to know the Chicago Yoga Community didn't include the heart in important decisions. My heart was tuned out. It was hidden. I knew fear. I knew ruthless survival. I knew competition. Even though my life was comfortable, somehow my attitude was mostly geared toward getting what I want according to what I had learned from others, like I was trying to get the best deal out of a situation, or something. I hadn't encountered heart joy or richness until I learned to know myself through Yoga.
I said at the time that I went to yoga to get a "hot body." I thought my boyfriend might appreciate my body more. I didn't know of myself as much more than that. I was a hungry body with needs and desires.
Now I wonder how I can expand my contribution to wellness. It's not just about my body and possessions, it's more about my heart, humanity and compassionate connections.
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