It will soon be six months since I had my life changing hip replacement surgery. If you were to see me jumping around now, you’d never imagine that the day after surgery I could only move my toes.
One of the reasons I had such a good recovery was yoga. On the morning of my surgery, I got onto my yoga mat and did a farewell yoga practice. I knew I wouldn’t be able to practice yoga for a long time. I cried as I thanked and said goodbye to my unaltered body; soon there would be a titanium and ceramic prosthesis inside of me. I said good bye to certain poses I would never be able to do again, like the child’s pose, one of the most basic, delicious poses in yoga. Apparently, a new hip doesn’t like the geometry of this pose.
When I was young, I didn’t think anything about my body. I lived in it.
Now, I’m aware of it all the time.
I have a hip issue, a shoulder situation and a knee thing. (I don’t call them problems.) I have turned into the sometimes limping and stiff vision of my elders. Instead of cursing myself and being angry, I embrace my body and all its imperfections. I love my body. My body has brought me here. My body has given me great pleasure. My body has birthed two children. My body has played thousands of hours of tennis. It has walked everywhere, run on beaches, hiked on mountains, skied and skated. It has sailed, walked cities, strolled through museums and sat in cathedrals and concerts all around the world.
As you all know by now, I’m on the yoga mat about five mornings a week. No, I’m not a saint, nor am I bragging. It’s about my aching body. Yoga stretches me out, limbers me up. My body has served me so well for all these years, and now it needs a little love. Yoga is body love if it is practiced properly, which means: respect your limitations and celebrate your abilities.