Just completed a training session based on research into the measurable effects of yoga on the quality of life for people living with arthritis. A totally wonderful period of focus on softening, acceptance, open heartedness and the strength that mind-body-and spirit can bring towards healing.
It seems so clear that the beginning and the ending of healing is learning that one can turn the compassionate heart towards oneself, accepting that the body is ours as a gift, in spite of the issues that arise and perhaps in particular because of the issues that arise. These joints and aches are reminders that awareness and acceptance will open the way, towards peace, towards joy, towards the true self. We could go blithely along never noticing our self, simply running on reactivity and conditions, setting goals and reaching, grasping for that next brass ring. The ache in the knee, and the understanding that this moment is truly all that you have, go together in a most amazing way to bring a person into the present, vividly.
Not saying pain is good or bad, not saying deformity in the joints is a goal or to be avoided... just being. More on this when I have more time.
There are so many people walking on earth now who have come to understand the gift that each moment brings.