Did I hurt my ‘image’ by sharing about my pain?

My Meditative Moments – Photo by Manish Doshi

I shared about my recent knee pain here and how I used it as an opportunity for deeper healing. Since then I have had quite a few conversations with curious and also concerned friends. I was encouraged by one of them to write this part 2 for my post “Liquid Gold” Following are some of the questions/comments I received along with my responses.

Why do you share about your pain publicly? Doesn’t it hurt your image as a healthy yoga teacher, and affect your business?

I do not have a brand to create in this moment, if at all, I am the brand for who and how I am. If there is any public image I strive for, it would be one of authenticity. I am in the business of creating myself in the truest expression of my spirit, and I facilitate that process for my students to the extent they would choose to go. I am a good coach to help someone identify what it is in their way & reach their goals with clarity, if we are a good match to each other.

I am as curious as you are, if my approach creates a well paying business for myself. I am open to discovering it. I forever keep pushing the edges of my skills, courage and vulnerability, and will keep showing up with all that I have in the moment. The results come abundantly in ways we are open to receiving, and that can look different for each one of us. I refuse to create an image of that which I am not in my being and becoming.

You practice yoga every day and also teach people, then how come you have such knee pain suddenly?

I am a human first, then a teacher, practitioner and everything else. Yoga practice does not give me a pain-free pass through life. It gives me the ability to become present to the pain and find a positive skillful way of being through it, and maybe out of it. It gives me the capacity to discern clearly, where is the pain coming from – is it purely physical, or is it also from some stagnant emotions? Is it being inflicted and accumulated from some mental belief that has us make certain choices repeatedly? Often pain has deeper roots than we can imagine.

I am skilled at facilitating this process for others, designing practices that help them become aware of their own body, mind, emotion patterns, and replace them with more aligned, balanced patterns.

I am a bit worried about you, Pragalbha. Are you taking health risks by treating yourself with yoga & spiritual stuff? Do these affirmations and all work for you because you are really specially spiritual or are you really doing something scientific?

This is in no way to replace expert medical advise (which I did take). I simply believe I have absolutely contributed to whatever pain emerges in my body, and so I need to be of equal or more contribution to my recovery from pain. Sometimes there are perspectives and choices that are needed in addition and for any medicine to take sustained effect.

While my doctor focused on the inflammation aspect of my pain, I focused on lengthening my spine with postural yoga to relieve strain on my knee joint, using my breath to keep my mind calm & clear, and other ways to clear out emotions like fear, inflexibility, anger, resentment that tend to create stiffness and pain in joints. In my case, my knee needed help to allow me to move forward literally and in life. I still have some lingering moments of pain coming back, reminding me that I am falling back into my old patterns. Pain is a very intelligent medium that helps us by its presence, until we heal wholly, deeply and fully. I am in touch with my expert medical practitioner for advice as needed.

Yoga is a science and practice of Being. It helps us get skilled at Being through circumstances without added stresses like fear or worry for example. It helps us get through difficult situations with much more ease, without anything become a major impediment. We are able to function in ways that otherwise might not have become possible. I have seen countless examples of this in students that I work with, be it physical pain or other stresses of life. And of course, I hope to keep sharing my personal journey with honesty.

P.S. If you liked this article, you might like the poem Questions Answered that I wrote back in 2017.

93 thoughts on “Did I hurt my ‘image’ by sharing about my pain?

  1. I really love your authenticity and powerful words in this post! For me, your piece about healing your knee was super helpful as I am going through painful knee things as well and you were an excellent reminder of the spiritual and emotional work I can do to help. So thank you for that! I absolutely love and resonate with your answers here, so well said and great job you for standing up for yourself and speaking your truth authentically! Your authenticity and the bright light your soul shines always inspires me!!! Keep shining dear friend, hugs and love 🖤🤗

    Liked by 3 people

    • WP has been almost as if my sacred ground where I have practiced my authenticity and vulnerability, and overtime gained lot of confidence and conviction to be in my truth elsewhere. I am so glad and grateful to be of contribution to you through my post. You are shining a very bright light yourself and also amplifying mine with your support. Thank You with lots of Love.

      Liked by 3 people

  2. I don’t know much about yoga, but I don’t think having an injury means there was something wrong with how you did yoga. If you were offering dietary advice but visibly overweight, that might raise concerns.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Well done on how you so beautifully and authentically responded to this array of questions! Authenticity is just the most wonderful frequency. Such a beautiful place (the only place) to dwell and you do it and share it so very well and in so many wonderful ways!!! 🙏🏻❤️🤗

    Liked by 4 people

    • Authenticity is just the most wonderful frequency. Such a beautiful place (the only place) to dwell – I love what you said here!! Really it is so wonderful to connect from this place of being. My heart feels full with joy and gratitude that you see in me and my ways, thank you so much truly! :)))

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Pragalbha, your willingness to discuss your approach to physical challenges, initially and then in this follow-up post, not only shows your authenticity and vulnerability (i.e. courage), it also has the potential to help people with similar issues. Your willingness to share can also inspire others to practice honesty and vulnerability. I also find it interesting to learn more about your yoga background.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I couldn’t imagine you being anything but authentic and by sharing what you’re going through you are helping to dispel the myths that teachers, especially spiritual teachers need to be perfect!

    There’s so many of us who have pains and it’s much nicer to receive advice from someone who has experienced it herself rather than purely from book learning.

    Brava for being real! 😁

    Liked by 2 people

    • It is so gratifying how you truly understand me 🙂 I wish to model this true humanness in our being, regardless of the profession we are in. There are no yoga postures portrayed on any of my profiles as I do not agree with yoga being equated with postures or exercise regimens. Yoga is a profound way of life. I personally can only learn from teachers who are living and sharing their journeys authentically, and so I strive for the same. I hope to be the change I wish to see in the world.

      Thank you very much for your kind support and affirmation to me, truly appreciate it!

      Liked by 1 person

      • You’re so welcome! Being authentic requires taking the risk of being vulnerable, and that scares a lot of people off from showing bravely themselves and being open.

        The fear of later being ridiculed for any perceived flaw is scary, unless we are willing to own everything about us, and not everyone is at that stage of personal commitment. That’s the thin line of what is separating you from the people wishing you to withhold sharing so openly.

        Living Yoga is all about embracing the here and now without needing to be perfect, for the expectation of it has been released and there is a peaceful acceptance of self. This is the essence of what others are struggling with and what they’re looking to you for. You are gently pulling them away from their perceived shadow side by showing it is safe to do so, and letting them see that behind the shadow is a light, for shadows couldn’t be seen except if a light we being cast.

        The light is not a harsh light as some might fear, exposing their flaws, but a gentle light of peaceful acceptance of what IS, knowing that we’re all a work in progress!

        Liked by 1 person

        • Very soothing and grounding to read from you as always, as you truly understand all the layers of this journey. I am still coming out of the phase of feeling grief or separation over why people would scare away from me, or seemingly ignore me, not understand me.
          I love your explanation of what separates me from people – while I have the personal commitment, I am still on the learning curve of the willingness to own everything about me. I hope to model and keep marching ahead despite the influences around me.
          I also agree with you on the gentleness of the light that gives so much peace if we were simply willing to rest into What Is.

          Thank you very much Tamara for putting so much thought and adding your skillful perspectives, It is good for me to read what I am attempting to live, it supports my ‘knowing’.

          Like

          • I have and have had a bunch of people who didn’t realize don’t understand me. It used to tie me up in knots because I really wanted to have that shared connection with them. Now I see that they’re just on a different path! I can let go of that inner angst to try to “get” them to understand me, and just allow myself and them the freedom to just be ourselves. We all need positive feedback don’t we?! It certainly is lovely to receive it, and it’s my great pleasure to support you and others on your paths, as I too am supported!

            Liked by 1 person

  6. Kudos for your authenticity Pragalba. Like others here, I support and admire you for being willing to be authentic, vulnerable, and real. Some teachers and people feel the need to put up false fronts of perfection. May you and your practice thrive.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you so much for your kind words, your support means a lot to me.
      That walking meditation circle was a surprise at the bottom of a long hike to the coast in Hawaii, it felt so peaceful to be there, I am glad you like it 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Yet again you have shown true how and genuine you are as a person Pragralbha. You lay your soul bare without any layers of pretense.I admire the fact that you support your journey of healing with a holistic approach. Continue to shine your light and inspire all. Wishing you peace and health!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Your words are so loving, encouraging, empowering and supportive dear Radhika. Thank you for ‘seeing’ me, it helps. I hope to continue humbly and gracefully on this path, perhaps unskilled at times yet keep moving. I am so grateful for your presence here, thank you.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Being true to ourselves is the essence of how we live and relate to others.. everybody hurts .. everybody cries…. everybody lives under the one sky…
    Dry Eyes
    “Life’s a green mirage
    A shimmering oasis
    Of dry crying eyes”
    Tears
    “How many rivers of tears must we cry
    Before all the deepest wells run dry”

    Liked by 2 people

    • What a treasure in your beautiful poetic response – it gave me such rich feeling of solace as it comes from truth, peace and beauty! I can’t find enough words to truly appreciate your response that I am reading multiple times!!! I am humbled and grateful Ivor, thank you very much.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I enjoyed your thought provoking article Pragalbha, and I firmly believe we must be true to ourselves and be honest with own emotions, and that hiding your feelings is a negative approach…. when we laugh everyone enjoys our happiness…. when we are hurting and crying everyone should also feel our pain…. “compassion and kindness” are truly lovely human traits to be gifted with…

        Liked by 1 person

        • It does seem to me that there is lot more room for compassion and kindness. There is so much judgment for anything thought of other than happiness, be it for self or others.

          Your words empower and encourage being honest with emotions, I am glad and grateful you enjoyed my post.

          Liked by 1 person

  9. Wow you have been asked such questions. Quite harsh in my opinion. You have answered them so beautifully, gracefully, authentically and with you head held high.

    The world depends too much perfection of people, expecting us to be brands, and impacting our business or reputation.

    As you said human first.

    I think being authentic, true to one’s self, and showing your journey and being an example, if winning through a difficultly, doesn’t hurt the brand. It proves the practises work. If that makes sense.

    All your answers are strong, calm, humble, graceful and confident. Fully of depth and wisdom.

    I love how you say…”..
    I am in the business of creating myself in the truest expression of my spirit, and I facilitate that process for my students to the extent they would choose to go. …”

    I can’t believe you got asked the questions you did. I find them, harsh, rude, and shallow. I think your responses and so elegant, I have a lot to learn from you. I wouldn’t bother to answer such questions, because it says a lot about the person asking and their capacity to understand. I just wouldn’t answer, that because I had in the past and learnt the hard way.

    But you just answer so beautiful.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Your thoughtful response gives me so much grounding, peace and perspectives.

      I am surrounded by more people around me who have traditional definitions of success – some close family and friends. I welcomed these questions consciously from long term friends and acquaintances who were respectful and brought them to me as curiosity. In the past when people were often casual, insensitive or ignorant in how they randomly made comments, I did feel hurt and it took me while to understand that I need to separate myself from their perceptions. So now I wanted to actually take the time to answer and they seemed to receive my perspective, if not accept it fully. That felt good to me.

      It helps me immensely that you share with me how my answers sound to you, it empowers me to keep being my authentic self – I often feel lonely, yet I do not wish to choose any other way.

      I find myself unable to put the work to create a business brand etc. and very well meaning friends approach me with how I could be using my potential to the fullest. I have struggled with feeling wrong for quite a while and learned to appreciate how much got created by itself, as I always continued to work on myself as a person. I am open for possibilities 🙂

      Thank you so much truly Bella, I truly appreciate this heart honest conversation with you _()_

      Like

  10. Thank you so much for sharing these questions and answers here Praghalba. The best teachers will always continue to practise what they know and deepen their understanding so they can share it with others in a new and enlightened way 💖

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Being your authentic self is courageous and beautiful, especially in these times of so much inauthentic caring, communication and spirituality. There is no need to explain or defend yourself. Much love. Mairi ❤️🌻🌺

    Liked by 1 person

    • There is no need to explain or defend yourself – this is a lesson in learning for long time to me, thank you for bringing it to me, helps reinforce. Inauthenticity truly hurts the spirit of all involved. I truly value you taking the time, thank you Mairi!

      Liked by 1 person

  12. I never considered that you were advocating abandoning medical advice because you were honesty sharing a personal experience. I like this statement – I am a human first, then a teacher, practitioner and everything else. Yoga practice does not give me a pain-free pass through life. Thank you PD for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I was surprised someone had that perception, so I am very glad that you saw it clearly as a personal experience and not against any medical advice.
      Thank you very much for highlighting the sentences that you liked – they get reflected back to me newly and support my intention.

      Like

  13. I wholeheartedly agree with you Pragalbha. We are humans first and we have to go through our shares of pain and hurt physically and mentally. There is no escaping that. It is required for us to reach up the ladder, to our destination. This, I believe, strengthens us and polishes us in our journey.
    A very well addressed post, Pragalbha 🙏💕

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Pragalbha first let me tell you the picture of you in this quiet and beautiful place is so serene and peaceful. Loved your inspiring and profound post. Be Your true self there is no one above or below You. There is Only You. You are the Only Reality in this entire World.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. No pain, no gain 😁 On a more serious note: it’s good to show your vulnerability. We all have our challenges which make us grow and become wiser and stronger. So all good 😌

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Appreciate you sharing this … says more about the pedestal ppl want to put others on. Or maybe just the very false images so many create on social media avoiding the reality that they face.

    I appreciate your open honesty, we all have challenges and sharing how you deal with those gives others more tools to cope! Keep up the good work and ignore the naysayers 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  17. These questions are very interesting to me. Sometimes, we can win for losing as human beings. Meaning, if you were a fraud, who promoted yoga and hid the doctor part, then someone would also have things to say about that.

    Anywho, I appreciate you sharing these questions/answers.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. We are all human and vulnerable at times, and if there is pain in my body or suffering I listen immediately! as it always has a lesson for me or a letting go of something. I love that our bodies never lie and I love that you speak your wisdom and truth Pragalba. 💕

    Liked by 1 person

  19. If I was to post here all of the quotes that I was nodding my head to and saying ‘yes, yes’ I would just be reposting all of your responses. I thought your answers were well thought out. And relatable. Even if we are not all practicing yoga/teachers. We are human first. We do contribute to our own pain and we should be part of our healing. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Your honesty, dear friend, is an inspiration to all who know you. You are being you in every sense of the word. No one is exempt from pain or illness. Not on this planet. Yet how you deal with those issues when they do arise you do so that is correct for you. You are allowing your heart to guide you which is just so beautiful to witness.
    In speaking of pain issues, I told my Chiropractor just today that I am intent on taking back what was taken from me health wise. Now you may say I chose to allow someone to take my health. Let’s just say between abuse and neglect as a child and uninformed choices as a young adult, I have today a body that requires constant attention. But enough about me ….
    Your soul shines so brightly. I see it in your words. I see it in your photograph. You shall succeed in ways undreamed of for in living in the fashion you do, people will see, question, and come to you so that you can teach them how to heal themselves. Powerful, just powerful!! You are awesome!! xo

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dearest Amy, you support my heart and soul journey so powerfully as only you do!!!
      I totally hear you on your body needing constant attention. Whatever care we were deprived of, any abuse that we endured to our spirit even, it speaks up when we are willing to listen. We can escape or suppress for only so long. It is the brave who keep moving through the pain, while doing the work of healing it. It is my privilege that you share and also ‘see’ this journey. The specifics are our own and yet it is the same journey we keep taking to its depth possible. When we acknowledge this for each other, we no longer feel alone.
      I am drinking up your words in the last sentences – you affirm and empower the spirit of my Being. I am deeply humbled and also filled to the brim by your kindness. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

      Liked by 1 person

      • You’ve put tears in my eyes, dear friend. How you have touched my soul. I’ve been dealing with just so much yet I will not give up! It is my understanding that we are responsible for what we know to do or are guided to do and then when the timing is right the Divine steps in to assist us to accomplish that which we set out to do. I am so proud of you for I have witnessed your journey and I can attest how open your heart is now. Wide open. Not only that you are not willing to compromise who you are by unflinchingly standing strong in your truth. Oh yes, your beauty stuns all who come in contact with you. The work is far from easy, and terrifying at times, yet climbing those mountains and falling in the swamps, are all meant to create in us a backbone so strong that no one or no-thing will be able to take from us that which we know ourselves to be. How many in all honesty can do that? How many truly know who they are? Welcome HOME, Pragalbha. You’ve arrived HOME to yourself. SMILING!! xoxoxo

        Liked by 1 person

        • I am imagining looking into your eyes with gratitude and joy for how you simply unfailingly always uplift my spirit and also drop me into the deeper pure vibrations of Mother – she is holding both our journeys, and then allowing us to indulge in this exchange of pure magical affirmations. Personally I feel wide open …yes terrified to the point that I won’t take steps and my body aches all over from rigidity… I hope I move and flow, thank you for bringing me support, only you have reached out for me at this level. I pray to Mother I stay Home. I will return to your words. Thank You. May all of life come to us with ease joy and glory.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Your words ….. “my body aches all over from rigidity …. the very same for me. I’ve been really thinking about why this rigidness and pain exists. When was the last time any of us moved with ease? With a sense of freedom in every true sense of the word? We’ve been holding tension in our shoulders, in our hips, in our joints, waiting waiting waiting for another shoe to drop. What all of us have been through, the shocks, the unbelievable horrors that transpired daily, they rocked our worlds. We tensed in fight/flight mode. Now the time has come to MOVE freely again without any fear and to feel freedom in our breath, in our every move, swaying our hips and our shoulders with ease swinging our arms and lengthening our stride as we walk. All of us have changed this past year ….. my heart tells me the time has come to take back the freedom of movement in our bodies. Now. The other day disregarding who was watching, I danced in joy as I looked at the sun, just feeling so connected to Mother all around me. That is how I intend to live regardless of what this world is doing. We’ve suffered enough. Healing is calling ……

            Liked by 1 person

            • When was the last time any of us moved with ease? With a sense of freedom in every true sense of the word? – I have had these thoughts similarly very often now.
              Dancing freely – now that’s still a distant dream to me. I do agree though we have suffered enough, it is Time to heal.

              Liked by 1 person

  21. I love how honest and truthful you are and most importantly i love at how you made us all understand that being a skilled yoga teacher and practitioner doesnt mean you wont experience pain..as what you’ve said first and foremost you are human…

    And yes, the idea of writing and sharing it is to share our authentic voice…i

    Liked by 1 person

  22. I’ve been sharing a lot of pain as of lately as well, but I think honesty is the key here and what keeps us relatable. Nobody has ever only perfect days or days without pain, whether it is physically or emotionally. Together we lean and together we learn. Take good care of yourself my friend.

    Like

  23. Ah, Pragalbha, I adore this post. I especially love this line “…I am the brand for who and how I am. If there is any public image I strive for, it would be one of authenticity.” That is beautiful, and authenticity personified. Lovely post, my friend. 😊🙏

    Liked by 1 person

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