Discovering Compassion in the Struggle


I woke up this morning after a challenging night’s rest. I struggle with chronic back pain from Scoliosis and some nights, well sleep doesn’t come easy. I awoke fairly early feeling lethargic and annoyed. I had intended to walk to the gym but decided to go to yoga instead to try to work through the kinks in my muscles.

I love the yoga studio I practice in. It’s housed in a barn on the grounds of the owner’s home and was formally a horse barn. The windows provide a view of a beautiful backyard with a bird feeder. I watch to see who comes to visit throughout the class. I am generally able to transform my mindset and my body and I was hoping today would be the same.

My practice today was that and so much more. When I teach yoga, I guide my students to seek their edge in a pose – that space where you feel challenged yet do not lose your breath or feel pain. It was my mantra today…where is my edge? Can I surrender to it? Can I breathe into it? The answer was yes and no, which is typical for my practice. It is my place to release perfectionism, to seek expansion in the practice and to foster healing in my body.

Having scoliosis has been a painful struggle for most of my life. Shortly after my 16th birthday, I developed a cold and unending back pain. This fall it will be 40 years since I was diagnosed. It’s a long time to be in pain. It’s a long time to push my body to do what it simply doesn’t want to. My yoga has offered me a space to truly experience compassion for myself and the burden of pain.

Today, I experienced a moment of grace within my practice. I was completely immersed and heard only my teacher’s voice and even that at times faded into the background. I was able to extend my body and my spirit beyond what I have been able to before. In releasing into the movements and surrendering into the spaces where my body said yes, I soared. It was as though a key had unlocked a magical place inside me where I was able to rise above the pain while still honoring it.

It is traditional at the end of yoga practice, to rest in Savasana. It is a time to integrate the changes of the body, mind and spirit from the yoga practice. During Savasana, my spiritual guides surrounded me and whispered to me, oh child, we are here and we will carry your pan with you. They gently wrapped me in a healing cocoon of energy, which will absorb the trauma of the deep emotional wounds my surgery caused me. I’ve been emotional all day, as I continue to release and accept a deep level of compassion for all I have experienced and all I have done to heal it.

I am deeply grateful to Lauren, my new-found friend and yoga guide and the tremendous safe space she creates.  You can find her studio at