The Pebble In Your Shoe

You know that little ache in your body? The one you have learned to live with and work around in your yoga practice and in other physical activities, that thing you just manage to deal with or rather choose to forget about in your life? Yeah, that one. We all have them; it’s part of being in a body. But do you know what? You don’t have to live with it anymore.

Those little tweaks and aches are messages telling your body that something is out of alignment. Perhaps you are stronger in one area and weaker in another.  Maybe you have an old accident or injury, or perhaps even an emotional trauma about which you may have forgotten; a trauma that is still having a residual effect on your body, like when you fell off your bike as a child or your first heartbreak. Perhaps it’s simply the fact that we are asymmetrical beings and we all favor one side versus the other. I know those little ‘workarounds’ all too well. I’ve had a few of them myself and you know what I’ve found? When you clear them, something shifts, a big expansion occurs – Like clouds parting and the sun coming out (cue the harps playing). I know it sounds corny but it’s not far from the truth.

Here’s what I mean: Imagine you are walking down the road and there is a little pebble in your shoe. It’s not too bad so you keep on walking. It’s irritating you but not enough to stop and take off your shoe and empty it out. This activates your nervous system and your entire body begins to compensate for it. Just like the operating system on your computer tells the printer to print or a disc to play, your muscles do what the nervous system tells them to do. That pebble in your shoe becomes the norm: Your whole body organizes around it and adapts; that is the way it recovers.

When you finally take the time to remove the pebble from your shoe greater ease comes over your whole being: the light is brighter, your vision is clearer, and your nervous system relaxes. It’s like updating your operating system. In my experience this can be quite profound.

So how do you get that darn pebble out of your shoe? I am a firm believer in the power of yoga and regular bodywork. Healthy biomechanics in your yoga practice, along with the willingness to take the time to learn alignment and shift how you are using your body in your yoga and in life, is the first step.

In addition, a skilled body worker can assist you in making lasting changes so that the architecture of your structure is supported and aligned. With the help of a body worker, you may in fact discover that the spot where you feel the pain might not actually be the origin of the pain. The root cause of the pain may very well be in another part of your body that is related to and interlinked with the painful spot in a way you might not even imagine.

The benefits of healthy biomechanics and regular bodywork are tremendous: not only will you experience more ease in your body and in your life, but also it is likely that your overall health and well-being will improve. I don’t mean to imply that all your problems will go away, but in my experience when I feel good, I am better equipped to deal with what arises in my life and I am therefore happier overall.

So here’s where you can start: My good friend and respected colleague, Mike Lane, and I are teaching a workshop about how to get that pesky pebble out of your shoe! This workshop is designed for anyone with a body to learn to help themselves when these troublesome moments arise: you sleep funny and your neck has a crick, you pick up something heavy and your lower back goes out, you go on a hike and your knee hurts the next day. We will show you how to work with these therapeutic concerns and many more. And for those of you that are yoga teachers yourselves, this workshop will help you to better assist your students and private clients.

“It isn’t the mountains ahead to climb that wear you out; it’s the pebble in your shoe.” – Muhammad Ali


Mobilize Your Body: Functional Anatomy
and Yoga Therapy for Yoga Practitioners

September 8-9
Yoga Tree Mission



  1. Hi Stacey,
    Awesome post!! I hear you. I know exactly what you are talking about. Those little pains are messages from our bodies saying, “pay attention! something is wrong.” I wrote a post “Body Talk” about understanding such messages and the impact of trauma on our bodies. On alignment, I hear you on that as well. I am finding that cultivating alignment in our bodies – bringing our bones and muscles into alignment and balance – brings our hearts and lives into alignment as well. We begin to align with our authentic selves and a higher calling. It doesn’t happen overnight, but if we stay with the practice, the shifts will occur!
    I hope you have a fantastic workshop. I wish I could be there for this one.

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