Around this time last year, I was preparing for knee surgery.  I had a torn meniscus and the Dr told me that I’d be back to my normal activities about 4 weeks after the surgery.    I didn’t really think I needed to list off MY normal activities….yoga about 5 times a week, running and hiking a couple times a week, and some kind of strength routine.  That is normal to me…I didn’t really factor into the equation that

1) Mary is not normal (lol)

2) Recovery time would also be dependent on what they found once they got inside my knee.

Once surgery was all done, the Dr told me that he cleaned up my meniscus and that he had to remove a large amount of random cartilage that we didn’t know was in there… so my recovery time would probably be a bit longer than 4 weeks.  He was right!!  I think it was about 3 months before I got back to my normal activities.

After the first 2 weeks of following orders and taking it easy, I got antsy.  I wanted to get back to all my activities before surgery.  At this time, I was about 3 months into Yoga Teacher Training (YTT).  The training was one weekend a month for 8 months.  There was a lot of MOVEMENT and info crammed into 21 hours each month.

On Sundays, during training, we would start off by having an hour of our personal practice (we practiced as a group but each did their own thing).  I remember feeling really down on myself because my personal practice was going to be non-existent for a few months.  I had a chat with my mentor before our Sunday training started.  I remember her looking me in my eyes and saying, “Mary this (as she glanced at my knee) is your practice”-meaning, your practice for the moment is to take care of your knee and yourself.  Those few words carried so much weight!

That morning was probably the first morning that I was really present in my movements-my personal practice was my therapy exercises and a few restorative yoga poses that I could safely do without using the knee too much.  And guess what?, I was totally in the zone….I focused on how I was moving more and moving better than the week before.  I stopped beating myself up for having a bum knee and started thinking about what I do  now will help me out in the long run.  I was content with moving how I could move at that point in time.  My knee got better, my yoga practice was different, and probably is different today than it was last year.

It’s hard not to compare ourselves to other around us, or even compare ourselves to a different version of ourselves…in our jobs, our circle of friend/family, and in our fitness classes.  Everyone is different.  We all have different views and opinions on things.  Our taste buds taste things differently, some of us are color blind, and we all MOVE differently.

Just keep in mind that everyone’s body is created differently.  We all look different on the outside and the placement of our bones, muscles, organs are all slightly different than the next person.  Be grateful that you can move the way you do, it’s part of what makes us all unique.

That first personal practice in YTT after surgery taught me that the movement I choose to do is always going to benefit my body, but I should allow it to benefit my mind as well.  Having a rigid approach to expectations we set up for ourselves can often result in being too hard on ourselves.  Loosen the belt, bust out a dance move here and there and go easy on yourself!