Yesterday, Che and I went to an advanced class at the Sivananda centre. A year ago. I wouldn't have been able to do even half of the poses. We did headstands, handstands, the splits, peacock and scorpion. I needed help from the teacher with quite a few of them, but I am amazed at what I can now push myself to do (albeit with a little help.)
I said to my trainer this morning at the Gym That I Currently Feel the Strongest Physically that I have Ever Done. He looked at me and said "And how incredible does it feel?"
And he is so right. It feels freaking amazing.
My job as a Physio is very physical, some of the children that I treat weigh upwards of 30 kgs, and whilst we have the luxury of hoists in the UK to transfer them in and out of their wheelchairs, once the child is on the mat with me, its all me facilitating their movement.
So it is important that I am physically strong.
The surgery that I had to remove the melanoma from my right shoulder took such a chunk of tissue out of me that it really affected my strength. But worst of all, was where they removed lymph nodes, to check if the cancer had spread, from my right axilla has left me with a residual lymphoedema (swelling) in my right forearm. Whilst it doesn't look too bad, it can be very painful. And exercise can aggravate the swelling.
To try and prevent and reduce this I wear a compression sleeve, which you can see in the middle picture, and it helps, but somedays my arm really aches and swells after exercise.
I can't believe how much I used to take for granted that my body had the potential to be so strong and how I never used the opportunities I had to train hard before my surgery, without all this arm swelling and pain business.
I feel that I am slowly learning how and when to push myself. There seems to be a fine line of how much Yoga asana (physical) practice my arm is happy with, but I also know that I am constantly shifting that line, and benefiting in the process. (Even if I'm occasionally being woken at night by arm pain in the process.)
Appreciate your body. Use it. Move it. Do whatever you can within the limitations that you have.
You will feel amazing as a result.