Guest Blog written by Sara Barnes

Pain occupied my mind as I made my way to yoga this morning – I didn’t really want to go, but it was three weeks since I’d last been at class, so I knew I had to at least turn up and give it a go. My mindset was getting me “nowhere fast” with my home physio exercises, and I was scared of how painful putting my legs into the poses might be. Up until about a week ago I had been doing well on all fronts; yoga, wild swimming, gym, physio and walking. Then, for some unexplained reason, during the night my right knee locked up leaving me unable to straighten or bend it without intense pain. I could only walk with the help of a walking pole and by keeping most of the weight on my right side in my toes. This made my back hurt and I felt sorry for myself! A visit to the physio and reassurances that I’d not done any damage still left me feeling like crying and giving up. I was simply “sent packing” with a whole new set of exercises, a rubber band and positive encouragement ‘you’re getting there!’

Huh! That’s not how I felt this morning as I explained to Sarah how I’d hurt my knee and didn’t know how much I’d be able to do, etc. etc., and that I’d stay at the back of the room near the door as I’d probably need to leave early.

‘Bring your mat up here Sara, there will be no need to leave early, just do what you can”, was the response! As I sat on my mat right at the front (unable to escape scrutiny), stretching out my legs, chatting quietly to those either side of me, I felt tears brimming and emotions, that I’d held down for a while, spilling over – how embarrassing! And yet, no one made me feel anything but supported and okay. Sarah kicked off the class with a perfect choice of words: “The yoga begins when you want out of the pose”. And boy did I want out this morning!

One thing I’ve learnt from Sarah is to be kind to oneself and your body will repay you in its own way, quietly, naturally and with a strength that you didn’t know it had. An amazing thing happened to me this morning down at the village hall, I put into practice what Sarah has taught me and allowed my body to guide me, to grasp my limp mind, willpower and self-doubt firmly and confidently. The pain I brought with me to class, and which had handicapped me all week, vanished. I was pain-free as I moved from one pose to another, all of them involving legs, balance and control. I breathed, I focused on a place just in front of my mat, I listened to Sarah’s voice guiding us through the poses. Every now and again she came over and adjusted my hips, my feet or my arms and the poses made more sense, I was able to move deeper into a pose just by her tiny adjustments – how does she know? It is one of the things she just does, quietly and without judgement, as she moves around the mats.

The hour and a half passed so quickly today, I actually found myself wanting more, not quite ready to go back into day to day movement. And that is the first time I can honestly say that! Usually, I’m so relieved to let my arms and legs relax onto the floor, close my eyes and chill.

Then Sarah did the nicest thing, she acknowledged the tremendous effort and strength it had taken me to stay there and, bizarrely perhaps, I received a round of applause – thank you everyone for understanding it was hard for me this morning. For me, this was another positive step along my journey back from surgery.

The Health Architect says, “Om-wards”!!