If you have been around yoga for a bit, you have probably heard the term “energetic opening”. It loosely means that something that originally was sore/tight/tender/injured or all of those bundled up, ends up disappearing while leaving you with capacities you did not posses beforehand. This is a polarizing subject and I have not had too many of these energetic instances (just two really) to write about it with authority. All I have to report is that I had a shoulder/neck somewhere there painful tangle for an entire month (maybe more) where I could only do closing scooting my ass against a wall. Well today, after a seven hour drive the day before, closing and back bending felt like I had new body parts. Not just no pain, but actual progress. I am not claiming that injury recovery works like this every single time like in a lab experiment, but I can now count this episode to add to another one way way back when a hamstring injury healed itself into head on the floor in Prasarita A. I would like to emphasize that I am not known for reaching for my edge, I am rather known for avoidance of all edges, and that is why I probably only have to energetic openings to share. What I’m saying is please do not consider this a one paragraph manifesto for pain  is gain. I am saying that pain can be one just one, indication of change in your range  of motion.

6 thoughts on “Openings

  1. Tim Miller once replied to my question about pain and knowing how to protect yourself during practice. He said that it’s important to distinguish between ‘good pain’ and ‘bad pain’. The former being ‘openings’ and releases, the latter being major injury. Of course, his answer didn’t do much for me at that time….it is impossible to explain what either of these feel like unless you’ve been through it, both the good and bad. I’ve come to view it as a chance to cultivate ‘viveka’ (discernment) and ‘svadhyaya’ (self-study) in asana practice. Still cultivating… 😉

    • Funny, during the recent workshop he mentioned how one student once had said to him that David Williams had told her that if it hurt it was not yoga. I paraphrase his response, but he told her that in order to notice progress in practice, some difficulty/discomfort must be experienced.He mentioned the heat of tapas and how there is discomfort evidenced by the sweat of effort. He said she did not like his answer very much.

      • Yes! I remember that story. To be honest, I didn’t really like his answer to my question at that time because I felt like he wasn’t answering the question. But (with the benefit of hindsight!) I realize that there is no way for any teacher to tell you with utmost certainty what sensations are ‘good’ or ‘bad’. It’s the sort of inward-turning and observation that we all have to figure out for ourselves.

  2. I agree, Maria. Not an advocate of pain I again but I have gone through several periods of pain, sometimes prolonged, that went away on their own when I modified as necessary and didn’t quit. Most recentky, last year a very sore chest/shoulder thing that was really bothering me up and disappeared and resulted in a new strength I had never seen before. I don’t know what it is but I believe in it. And also in understanding the difference in an injury that needs real research and possible attention. I liked what Louise had to say on this. K

    • Yes, her thoughts on it were very much on my mind and it was in line with what Tim said. I have never had a strong chaturanga but now it feels stable and like fortified. My closing still suffers a bit, like when I transition to halasana. It might be a weight issue as well. It took me forever to get on the mat today, but frequent/daily practice is the real healer.

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