I have been lucky enough to practice yoga daily since we opened. The first 30 days of yoga were tough, my body hurt and I was constantly sore. The muscles and a little flexibility has slowly come back. A recent “doctors” visit confirmed my blood pressure is lower and I have dropped 16 pounds! All good news? No, some old injuries have showed up and even a couple of new ones.
It started with a sore lower back, evolved into a strained right rotator cuff in my shoulder and showed up as a strained left bicep. All of this in the pursuit of enlightenment, abs and a little inner peace??? YES! Was I trying to hard? Not being patient? Not being “mindful?” How could doing something that feels so right, be so wrong?
The sore lower back was easy. I started modifying my upward dog to be a baby cobra, then easing into upward dog as my body loosened up. I really focused on my hamstrings in forward fold and at the end of practice, I am careful to keep my shoulders firmly planted on my mat as I do twists creating a nice release in my lower back. Basically, I added a heavy dose of “mindfulness” to my practice, bringing awareness to the poses that could relieve the pressure in my lower back.
The right rotator cuff was a lot harder. I hurt it waving goodbye to somebody after class (if I don’t wave to you don’t be insulted)! The sharp pain scared me, partly because I could feel it shooting into my shoulder and partly because we do a lot of chaturangas and the high plank to low plank to upward dog requires strong shoulders. The first thing I did is rub some China Gel into it. Bringing awareness to an injury is the first critical step to starting the healing process. The China Gel and spritzes of BioFreeze provided temporary relief, but the pain was not going away.
I scheduled a massage with Bill here at the studio, followed by another 2 days later and another 3 days after that. It hurt like hell. Each massage focused solely on releasing the muscles running around my right shoulder and down my entire back to my upper right thigh. It took 2 weeks, but the pain is gone! My body needed more than just me being mindful in my practice, it need some expert attention and fascia release. Am I being more mindful, hell yeah!
True story, I have been nursing a sharp pain in my left bicep for over 6 weeks. Why? Because it only hurts when I transition from crow pose to chaturanga. The jump back results in a sharp pain and my arm collapses in an attempt to protect the bicep. I can flex the muscle and feel no pain, but if I dig in I can find a sore spot. Not “just” a sore spot, a really f%#king sore spot. I mentioned it to Bill in passing as I got ready for a nice long relaxing massage. Did I get that massage? Of course not. Bill found the spot and I could feel my bicep separating and rolling as he found where the muscle was locked up and released it. Shit. Did I mention that there was nothing relaxing at all about this massage?
Do injuries happen in yoga? Hell yeah, but injuries also happen coughing, walking down the street and watching tv. Our bodies are critical, they carry your brain around and empower you to make a difference in this world. The crunchy sound your knee makes, the aching in your back and the pain in your throwing arm…you don’t have to live with that! If your brakes were squeaking on your car would you keep driving until your car didn’t stop or would you take your car in and get it looked at? Sometimes it is simple stretching, other times it is a full on cleanse or a series of massages. Our bodies are self-healing and a little nudge in the right direction goes a long way.
It turns out that it is a lot easier to take care of other people than it is to take care of myself. Part of my growing edge is taking care of myself better. For me this is getting on my mat every day, reading the labels of the food I eat and drinking more water. I haven’t been practicing “rest” as prescribed by Bill, I have been practicing mindfulness and consistency. My daily yoga practice will heal my injuries as meditation will heal my mind. My commitment to the studio, my family and you – is to keep this body and mind in shape and running strong. Who and What are you committed to?