Reflections on standing up

For most people, walking freely on two legs is basic to being human, so basic that they never think about it. Losing that ability is devastating and has profound psychological effects as well as physical ones.

Losing physical mobility affects every part of your life. Whether it is due to limb loss, accident, disease or the effects of aging, every activity that you do, from travelling to personal hygiene is changed. It is often difficult for people who are not dealing with restricted mobility themselves to understand how complete the effects are, even for people who seem to get around well enough. Much of the associated suffering goes on unnoticed.

That was brought home to me when I stood up on my prosthetic leg for the first time after many months in a hospital bed and a wheelchair. It is difficult to describe the feeling of standing up again but it was a revelation. My immediate thought was ‘Standing on two legs is fundamentally human’. My heart immediately went out to the other people in the rehabilitation centre who couldn’t look forward to standing up again or who were struggling with using their prosthesis.

While yoga helped me retain core strength and symmetry it was its power to control emotions and build positive mental energy that made the biggest difference. Yoga philosophy and psychology gave me insight into my own experience and yogic practices, primarily pranayama, mantra and meditation, gave me the ability to do something about it.

I spent a very long time alone in a hospital bed in extreme pain and it was by far the best yoga lesson that I have ever had. The Yoga Sutras, as well as common sense, tell us that of all the ways of knowing something direct experience is the best. Now that I have the experience of successfully applying the science of yoga to that extreme situation I feel I have a responsibility to teach others what I learnt as well as I can.

In spite of appearances I am essentially a very private, reclusive person. I don’t like putting myself forward, I am acutely aware of my shortcomings and I am quite sure that I am the laziest yoga student in the world. Nonetheless, Yoga For Mobility was created to share the knowledge and techniques I was fortunate enough to learn and reduce suffering whenever possible. I will teach anyone who comes to me regardless of whether they can pay me or not and I will do it by whatever means are available.

And… any help, encouragement or suggestions that anyone has that will further this work will be gratefully accepted.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *