Honor thy _____________

I cut my index finger making dinner last night. Thinly slicing onions. It will affect my practice today.

I am nursing a posterior tibial tendon tear for going on eight months now. It will affect my practice today.

I have rheumatoid arthritis. It will affect my practice today.

My body is a map of discomforts -- the swelling at my ankle, cesarean birth scar, hitched right hip, uneven shoulders. It can make it hard to get to my mat. My body, being the instrument of my life, often takes a beating before it arrives on the mat to be an instrument of my yoga. And it will affect my practice today.

A few weeks ago, Al, one of my favorite teachers at Shakti Yoga & Living Arts, gave me a lift during his class. I was in urdhva dhanurasana, and he came to me with a yoga strap. He put the strap around my waist and gently eased me more deeply into the pose. I'm pretty sure I groaned. My arms and legs were working, my heart was wide open. I could feel all kinds of this-es and thats in my body -- those injuries, that stiffness -- adjusting. He asked me if it felt good, and I laughed and said, "Well, I wouldn't say that..." I'm pretty sure we all chuckled -- But I breathed into the new depth of the pose until it did.

One of my teachers doesn't like to address injuries as thus -- she likes them to be called sweetnesses -- or something equally loving -- to adjust how we feel about them. Corny? Maybe, but it can reframe something from pain to healing. It honors what is. Sometimes pain is. So we should honor it.

None of us like to honor what is "wrong" with us. Too bad.

Today is going to be one of those days when stepping on to the mat might not feel so good -- at least at first. This damp weather taints my knees with a certain sweetness that could get really juicy as class unfolds. Pressure on my cut finger will certainly remind me of those onions. It will affect my practice and give me new awareness about how to move, how to breathe, how to heal. I'm going to try to honor it with the flow of my breath and the openness of my heart.

What sweetness do you carry in your body? How do you work with it in your practice?