What is your body saying when it aches or stiffens? Do you know? Are you listening? In this Community Inspiration piece, Jenifer Kahn Bakkala's journey towards listening, really listening, to her body's voice was the birthplace of a transformed relationship with her mind-body-spirit. Read her inspiring story here.
It’s an easy thing to say: “yoga is good therapy”— and it often feels that way when the day deals out a muscle ache, an angry boss, or an impossible to-do list. However, our problems aren’t always daily ones. So when I submitted my long-term shoulder ache, jaw stiffness, and vertigo to Theresa Murphy’s gentle guidance, “yoga is good therapy” took on a surprisingly new significance.
It had been a year of sitting at a computer the “wrong way.” During this period, an intense project had occupied my mind and made me oblivious to body and spirit. A full year after that, as I struggled through life, feeling unbalanced, stiff and often in pain. My right shoulder ached. I was gritting my teeth. I was dizzy when I tilted my head. I wanted more than anything to get rid of it. Yoga therapy promised to address long-term malaise. So, I signed myself up for four sessions with Theresa.
From the start, it was all about listening — Theresa listened to me while I listened to my body. With my eyes closed, all of the limitations I had been dealing with began to sort themselves out as I made the smallest of movements. How does this feel? Is stretching this way important? Theresa asked the questions, and I gave what seemed like the strangest of answers.
Slowly, soft voices began to speak to us both. The project from years ago? I was holding it in my hand. It was sitting on my shoulder. It was tearing apart my side.
Each session brought a new epiphany. In the studio, I stretched. I explored. I re-opened avenues in my body that had closed. Theresa brought her vast knowledge and amazing intuition to each new situation and sent me off with fresh insights. At home, I learned to use my left hand instead of my right. I practiced new postures that were brave instead of protective. I put that project on a shelf in my mind so that my body could enjoy some freedom without it.
And slowly, everything began to change. With Theresa’s help, I went from a tortured achiness to a pleasantly creaky agility. The pain and dizziness are gone, and I feel lighter, taller, more solid, and more at peace. Now I am ready to let my regular yoga practice back into my life, and ready to be ready for anything!
Needless to say, I start each day with a new sense gratitude: thankfulness for where I’ve been, for where I am, and for how I’ve come to arrive there. Yoga is truly good therapy. I’m glad Theresa listened to me. I’m glad I learned how to listen to myself.
Jenifer Kahn Bakkala
Ebb n' Flow Yoga is so honored to provide a home to your transformed journey. And I am so incredibly touched reading your story. I bow to your healing power, along with Theresa's wisdom and guidance. With a grateful heart, Joy