The Yoga MD

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#SLOWSEPTEMBER

September and some relief from summer’s humidity. My brain basically stops on humid days,
my thoughts feel like they are moving through pea soup. Thick and slow. So I love it when the
humidity breaks and the cooler air of fall starts to seep in.
I have recently marked the fourth anniversary of my concussion, and though most days are
better, the atmospheric pressure changes still get the best of me. I have no control over the
weather, and that is frustrating when it affects my function. But I have less resistance to it now
and less anger. I have almost learned to surrender. I say almost because I would be lying if I said
that I didn’t test it, that I didn’t still try to push through. Yet, it is so much better when I am
mindful and accept it. Unfortunately, after four years, I have to accept my circumstances because
I will still pay for it when I do overdo it. Luckily, the hard days are fewer, and I have learned to
slow down.
The road to recovery post-concussion is not easy or smooth. The more concussions one sustains,
the longer it takes, and the greater risk of persistent symptoms. Many people with persistent
symptoms say five years and still have to do things differently. Aging probably doesn’t help. In
the next few months, I will be turning 50. Shocker – I still feel 29. But here I am, and it is time
for me to move on to another stage of life.
South Asian culture follows the Ashram System, the four life stages. The first life stage is called
Brahmachara – the child and student phase of life when we focus on growing and learning. After
this, we move into Grihastha – householder stage. This is the part of life where we focus on
family, our occupation, and building wealth. It generally lasts from our 20s to late forties or
fifties, though our modern culture has changed the timeline. After this stage, we move into the
Vanaprastha stage, which translates to forest dweller. At this stage, it is time for the next
generation to take over. We take on more of an advisory role, mentoring and supporting, while
we develop our spiritual side. Then we may move on to the Sanyassa stage, where one will
further detach from life, renouncing material things and desires.
From a career point of view, I find myself in the Vanaprastha stage. Honestly, I never thought I
would reach this stage so soon! In some ways, this change in stage has been hard to accept, as it
was not necessarily my choice. Truthfully, I am a workaholic. Yet every time I increase my
patient load, my health suffers. So again, I am stepping back a bit, and changing how I do things.
I do welcome this time to slow down, to reflect, meditate, and write. I am learning to find the
sweet spot between sharing all I have learned about burnout, concussion, and yoga while
maintaining my health. In addition, I hope to teach others what I have learned so they can carry
the Reconnect Concussion Program further. I have been steadily working on the online
educational versions of my programs. I hope this will increase access to information for those
with a concussion and their families. This way, more people can benefit.
I also hope to get back to guiding our helping professionals recovering from burnout – these past
few years have been brutal. So stay tuned for a membership option for yoga and for the re-launch
of the Rest, Reset, Rise! Program online, which you can do at your own pace. It will involve
short audio recordings, which you can listen to on the go, yoga practices, and reflective exercises
to help you transform your life! We will also schedule coaching calls to connect and reflect on
the process.

Finally, it goes without saying that I will need to be closer to my parents as they age. The
caregiving role never ends as a woman or a daughter. This will likely require yet another pivot.
But, of course, caring for others requires caring for self. If there is one thing this injury has
taught me, it is how much effort, energy, and time self-care really involves. It was certainly
beaten out of me in my medical training.
So I will be going slow this September, conserving my energy, and at my own pace. I challenge
you to do the same. #SLOWSEPTEMBER