As I was prepping for a one-on-one session with a patient I found myself intercepting a conversation. I am a fairly obvious eavesdropper at the best of times but my ears and heart always will perk more at the mention of yoga.
A couple women who do private Pilates sessions at the clinic were discussing their current injuries. One was complaining of back pain and said something along the lines of “I should maybe try doing more yoga” . I smiled as I gathered my props feeling the warmth of triumph at the statement. My feeling was short-lived, as most triumphant moments are, when the other women replied “No, yoga will make it worse. I get worse when I go to yoga. My boyfriend won’t even let me go to class. He just tells me to do more Pilates because that doesn’t hurt me. All yoga will hurt you.”
Now usually I am pretty non-bias when it comes to people’s opinions on things but to hear this blanketed statement being said about yoga really aggrevated me. Taking it too personally ….? most definitely. I make a living primarily teaching yoga as a form of therapy for individuals with acute or chronic issues. This women’s statement immediately effected me because I felt like it was a attack on MY profession as well as MY abilities as a health-care worker.
I did not hesitate to make myself a part of the conversation by adding “It depends on the type of yoga” … I then turned up my nose, gathered the rest of my props and went into the treatment room where I let my patient quickly jump to MY and yoga’s defense.
Okay… so I as tempting as it is to decide that this women is ignorant and I am the one who “knows best” I need to look at the bigger picture here. Who or what is really at fault? Inquire.
-The words MY, I, ME played a big role in this whole exchange. Enough said. It was only a perceived personal attack because this women doesn’t know who I am, my patient’s, or what I do.
-I don’t know anything about this women, her body, or her previous experience with yoga.
-The perception of yoga varies from person to person due to experiences, history, and the media and not everyone is aware or fully understands of the different aspects of it.
-Perceptions can be dangerous and extremely limiting. I strongly believe that there should always be an open inquiry about our lives whether things are good or bad, whether a type of treatment hurt or healed, whether a certain food felt nurturing or inhibiting.
-In the end, we all have a choice and we all have to be conscious on what we are stating as FACT to people. I try to be really careful about “preaching” the benefits of yoga because its not every individual is going to resonate with it. There are many different forms of exercise, breath work, meditation, and therapy that work for different folks.
What are your perceptions?
*Remember this is merely an inquiry into my own thought process as well as the space & people around me. The world is not black and white … its full of color.