by Yogi Aaron
What I Learned From Breaking My Leg
The power of surrender and letting go…
This story begins in Tapovan on the morning of September 8, 2007… It actually begins many years earlier, but that is another story.
Tapovan is in the deep Himalayan Mountains at 14,000 feet and is one of the most majestic places I have ever visited. Celebrated in Hindu mythology as the “Abode of the Gods”. Only in these “deep” places can the real sages be found. They are not easily accessible, but once you do find them, they pour their love and spirit out to you.
At 7:00 AM on September 8th, we departed from Tapovan to Gangotri which was about 25 kilometers away. The sun had already risen over the peaks of the mountains and the beautiful abode of Tapovan was beginning to wake up. Our group slowly made their way down this steep grade over the rocky glacier.
At about 8:30 AM, we were getting very close to the bottom of the steep descent and, from where I was standing; it looked to be about thirty feet away.
Suddenly I heard someone yell, “Look out!” “Look up!!! LOOK UP!!!”
There are moments in our lives which will stay with us forever and there are images in our lives that will be forever imprinted upon our minds and this particular moment has been indelibly etched into mine. As I looked up, I saw a rock heading right towards me and it looked to be about twice the size of a basketball.
The next few moments after that are a complete blur. However hard I try to remember, those moments are gone from me forever. What I do remember is lying down and screaming. Many that were in the group think that I was screaming because of the pain but the truth was that I was screaming because I had a pretty good idea that my leg was busted up (I had no idea to what extent in that moment, only that the situation was grim) and that a part of me was so angry at the universe for letting this happen in that moment.
After waiting for a few hours for help to arrive, I turned to Robert, and said, “I cannot do this,” meaning that the pain was so intense that I felt that I could not wait anymore.
He turned to me and said,
“Aaron, you have to make it and I will be right here with you, helping you as much as I can.”
I often think back to that moment and contemplate on what support really means. This support was above and beyond what I could have ever imagined.
As I was being transported down the mountain, I learned a valuable lesson in surrender. I often tell my students that one of the belief’s in Tantra is that the whole world is a manifestation of the Divine Mother. We are taught in this tradition that bliss is the experience of being held in her arms.
I had that experience as I was being lovingly carried down the mountain.
Many people have asked me how I coped with the pain for three days before receiving surgery in New Delhi and my response is this:
“Again and again I continuously brought my attention to my body. I would breathe in for six counts and exhale for six counts. I also brought my attention again and again but to that feeling of being held in “Her Arms” with my mind keeping a vigil on Her Grace and the mantra my teacher had given to me.”
The power of my yoga practice prepared me for this one defining moment in my life. It prepared me in a way I could not have ever possibly imagined. It taught me the power of surrender and letting go.
In the closing…
“Life is a manuscript, and the author of that manuscript is that which you are. …The beginning and the ending of this manuscript are missing. You do not consciously know from where you have come; you do not know where you will go.” – Swami Rama
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About Yogi Aaron
Yogi Aaron brings passion and a spirit of adventure to his teaching. Thus inspired, he guides students to secret, far-flung locales, which not only empowers them to realize their own limitless potential but also makes yoga relevant and accessible for the modern world. Since 2002 he has been traveling and leading retreats worldwide. He currently serves as the Yoga Director at Blue Osa Yoga Retreat + Spa in Costa Rica.