Another beautiful Saturday morning, and today I have been thinking about movement. Being grateful for the gift and ability to exercise and move our bodies. Appreciating the times when our bodies need rest, and a renewed empathy for anyone who may have challenges or is completely restricted in their ability to move.
Recently, I have been in a Cluster headache episode. I am fortunate that I generally get a break between Cluster periods. My last experience was a little over two years ago. This latest episode began to present itself about a month ago.
If you’re not familiar, a cluster presents itself as general discomfort and tightening in the shoulders, neck and head. They do not subside during an occurrence, which for me usually last two to four weeks. And typically, up to twice a day, an acute pain headache occurs. These can feel debilitating, and can last from thirty minutes to two hours. And generally leave you feeling extremely fatigued once the acute pain period recedes.
There is currently no known cause, or cure. And many times these are misdiagnosed as migraine headaches, and the recommended treatments are similar. We of course opt for more natural treatments. I use Pink Himalayan salt and infrared light therapy, as well as ice.
It is with this backdrop that I recently had this realization of how I was taking movement, and the opportunity to enjoy yoga classes, for granted. I found myself on my mat in a class, meditating in the heat prior to class beginning. In that moment, I had a huge wow. As someone who typically tries to practice 5 – 6 times a week, I hadn’t been in class for almost three weeks. And I was just incredibly grateful to be back in class, and ready to enjoy a practice led by one of my favorite instructors.
I also realized that I was allowing myself to feel guilt, and a bit of anger, for missing classes. I quickly shifted to thoughts of grace and forgiveness. When our bodies are asking for rest, part of self love, and self care is gifting our bodies with that rest. And holding gratitude with the knowledge that be it a week, a month, any recovery period, that it is a gift to return to movement and our favorite exercises and classes.
And then I found a renewed sense of empathy. Knowing there are individuals who would trade anything for five breaths or five minutes on a mat stretched out and ready to shift to their favorite pose. For those who may be able to ride a stationary bike for short bursts and nothing else. For those in my life who we have loved, and those we have lost, that know any limits to their movement – despite the desire to get up, get out and move.
Exercise and movement have become a big part of my identity. And at this stage of life, yoga is my favorite and chosen practice. And now, the gift of practicing yoga, be it daily or weekly. Be it a 30 minute or 90 minute class, or any time in between. That this is something I need not take for granted, and is something for which I should always hold gratitude. And holding close, an extra amount of love and light for anyone whose movements may be challenged.
Sending love, light and laughter ❤️🙏