[dropcap]T[/dropcap]here’s no doubt that the focus I’ve chosen for this project, the data generated by the interviews, and the analysis I’ve applied to that data so far is triggering for many yoga people.
I can totally relate: the whole subject was triggering me for years before I began more formal research. I was too professionally invested in asana culture as a teacher, yoga therapist, and community organizer to let myself really hear and absorb the stories of injury and harm coming from colleagues. More intimately, I was also heavily identified with yoga asana as a key plot point in the story of my personal awakening. That hasn’t changed, but the story has certainly become more twisty. Continue reading “WAWADIA Update #16: Two Ways of Blocking the Yoga Injury Conversation”
So the response to Update #14 has come fast and rich. You can read that piece in full here, or just roll with this nut graf, woven from Winnicott and Orbach:
Some people might be getting hurt in yoga because they are practicing in the bodies they fantasize about, instead of the bodies they actually have. Bodies they fantasize expressing a happiness that is not truly there. Bodies they fantasize as expansive when they actually feel like retreating, or expressive when they feel choked. What happens to the tissues when the mind presses them into the performance of a fictional suppleness and strength? Can the fantasized body push the real body, the inner body, too far, too fast?
Another short update, and a request:
In research for the WAWADIA project so far, a key distinction has emerged.
On one hand, there are acute injuries that occur in the early days of practice, correlated with (if not caused by) a combination of inappropriate instruction, disorganized studio protocols, and lack of previous exercise/embodiment experience on the part of the student. These injuries might be relatively easy to mitigate, if we get clearer on regulatory standards. But this is a thorny issue.
On the other hand, I’ve collected a lot of stories on more chronic injuries that emerge within 3-5 years of the typical practice career. Healing from these injuries can be complicated by the fact that the practitioner is often strongly emotionally invested in practice at this point, and they struggle to imagine themselves changing or altering paths. Their injuries reflect their practice in a strange way: both record repetition, and stress. Continue reading “WAWADIA update #12: How Many of Us Are Injured By Chasing a Fading Pleasure?”