The things you can’t see changing in a yoga practice (the yoga of a skin cancer).

In yoga, we feel shifts and changes in our practices; on Monday my balance was great, Tuesday I was shaking like a leaf on one leg, Wednesday my hamstrings were long, Thursday I was stiff as a plank of wood etc. We recognise and accept that we are different each time we come to the mat, we are organic, we are evolving

A sustained, continued practice sees us make great physical leaps, when I first started the floor was so far away in uttanasana (standing forward bend), then it was close, then I found it, then I had to take my arms wide as I could lay my palms flat, my back still rounded out, now my back is reasonably flat and head nearly touches my shins (most days ;)) . The physicality of my practice is continually evolving and often a step forward is proceeded by a step backwards. I’ve noticed this so much more since the birth of my daughter 16 months ago, while my strength and flexibility are probably ‘better’ than before I was pregnant, some asana have escaped me completely, such as padmasana (lotus pose) it’ll be there one day.

Recently, it is the yoga off the mat that has me thinking about change, how yoga changes us. This thought process has come about through a change I recently went through, I had a skin cancer removed. No big deal, except it kind of was- 11 stitches in my face 2 x internal, 9 x external. The face I’ve known for 30 years, the face while not the most perfect, I’m rather fond of. Its the face my soul resides underneath, the face that my two favorite people my husband and daughter know, love and trust.

My face has changed forever and what surprises me is, I’m ok with it. What has this got to do with yoga i hear you ask? My answer, heaps! How I was barely attached to the vanity of it, even now, while it still looks angry and is healing and people stare at it and when strangers ask me what happened, I view their curiosity with compassion. (ok, I’ve had my moments where I’ve been a little attached to the vanity but I love this Ram Dass quote In most of our human relationships, we spend much of our time reassuring each other that our costumes of identity are on straight. My besties and husband had to do a little reassuring)

When I first had it cut out and the stitches were tight and painful, I didn’t wallow, I felt so blessed that the dermatologist had found it, it was removed and that as a person that grew up in harsh Australian desert was having her first spot cut out at 30.

Each day as I rub rosehip oil into the long red and purple healing scar with gratitude I think about how lucky I am to be able to have this scar to encourage my daughter to wear a hat and sunscreen when she plays outside and part of me secretly hopes she will think the scar is pretty cool, maybe even a bit like Harry Potter’s. I have gratitude I have this experience to be more careful outside in the sun, gratitude for the guts to wear fabulous hats. Gratitude that maybe my story will make you mindful of any changes to your skin and your sun exposure.

It is yoga that has taught me to not be so attached to the ‘shell’, yoga that has taught me to be compassionate to find gratitude and accept things and the way they unfold. It is this experience that has had me stop and go, wow I’ve really changed, yoga has changed me.

Thanks, yoga.

Namaste- don’t forget to slip, slop, slap! xxx