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Teachers Need Teachers Too by Heidi Michelle

(Heidi Michelle's private yoga lesson with yoga teacher, Kisa Davison, a specialist in scoliosis and compassionate guide in Kalispell, Montana)

My scoliosis is progressing. My healer/body worker of 6 years died a year-and-a-half ago. I’ve been in back pain again and haven’t known what to do. More yoga? Rolfing? Physical Therapy? A rain dance?

I’m at an impasse in my body and I need help.

Last week, I found it. I found a woman who specializes in scoliosis and is a yoga teacher. Cha-ching! I chose Kisa because she herself has struggled with a twisted spine, chronic pain and the journey out of it. “Okay, let’s see what she’s got,” I thought.

I spent more than 4 hours with Kisa (one private session followed by a group practice) as she examined by body, witnessed my yoga practice and finessed my alignment, compassionately helping me “turn on” consciousness in areas where I thought I had already flipped the switch. We worked on my upper back and hips. Surprising areas to focus on as my scoliosis is in the lower spine.

Yet, like a flat towel that gets twisted in the middle, its outer corners are pulled, yanked and stressed too.

After practicing a mere 4 poses with an obscene amount of awareness to these newfound details and minute muscle engagement, I dripped happy sweat buckets. I worked harder in that practice than I had in years. The next day I was tender and sore as a brand new yogi!

"You need to practice backbends and inversions, Heidi," Kisa told me. Great, the two things that I avidly avoid in my personal practice. Of course. But that's a whole other story....

In one private session, I not only learned a volume of knowledge having to do with my own body’s care through yoga, but a slew of priceless tools to pass along to my students too.

I have been mindfully applying these tools daily in my own personal yoga practice. With that, along with a few rolfing sessions, I’m feeling relief. The pain is subsiding and there is ease in my body once again.

Teachers need teachers too. I am grateful for the great indicator of pain. Pain lets us know that something is “off” and requiring our attention. The pain in my back lead me to seek help.

I was not always this observant.

I was a professional dancer and an athlete. I know pain in the body. For years, however, I would ignore the achy twinges and sharp jabs of my body telling me to pay attention. I was tough. I suffered through it.

Eventually through my yoga practice, as I became still and patient, the shouts became screams and I could ignore my body’s voices no more. I listened. I examined. I paid attention and realized that I couldn’t do it alone.

We don’t have to suffer needlessly. There are options and choices to bring ourselves out of misery, both physical and non-physical. There are teachers and masters who know more than we do. There are people who want to help. There are people who care.

Making peace with our bodies means first listening to them. Your health is possible.

Your well-being is possible.

Peace is possible. I refuse to believe anything else.

Namaste and then some,

Heidi Michelle

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