17 December 2008

There's Alway Something For Me

After learning I have one seriously tweeked back and starting weekly physical therapy to rectify it, I have had to alter my yoga practice in a major way. My physical therapist advised me to do no forward bending that does not keep the spine neutral (oh, yeah, that's like 67% of the ashtanga practice) nor to twist (like the REST of the ashtanga practice!). At first I was very despondent, I mean, I could not envision yoga practice without these two movements. I felt angry at my back and then angry at Barb, the physical therapist. I mean, how could she even SAY those two things are bad at ALL! It was against all that I felt I had learned about the physical aspect of yoga. But through Barb, I have learned some interesting things about the anatomy of our backs, and that it seems that bending forward isn't inherently bad at all. I won't get into the boring details of my back issues, but I will say that I will be bending forward once I work on strengthening the areas that are aggravated by such action. Same with twisting, although Barb frowns much upon twisting if it is generated from the lumbar region which she claims is not fashioned to perform such action.

The bad news is that it seems yoga may have played a part in my injuries. And I take responsibility for it, by not practicing asteya and ahimsa, I had been, for years, taking too much, going too far and not being humble enough to listen to what my body was really saying it could do. My back developed TOO much flexibility and the muscles in it were not matching that level of flexibility. However, I was informed that to some extent our flexibility is genetic and perhaps I was bending myself around because I just could. Also doing me a great disservice was sitting in my work chair with my leg tucked under my butt, for like, years. My spine is slowly curving to the right...which is totally bizarre to see on an X-ray, let me tell you.

All this blather leads me to what I really wanted to say and that is that yoga is there for me again, and not as I usually experience it being there for me. I realize there are a myriad poses I can do without bending myself in two and without twisting. In fact, I have discovered the joy of so many poses I otherwise didn't focus on that much. And I have also come to love Pilates. A form of exercise I once thought people did because they were too lazy and chicken to do yoga.But Pilates is excellent for keeping the spine neutral and there is almost no twisting and it promotes excellent posture, so I am all about it right now. I feel long and graceful doing it and it blends almost seemlessly into my yoga practice.

My lesson is that we relay so much on habits and ideas about the things we do that when those habits and ideas are forced to change, we sort of tweek out, and I tweeked out, mentally. But once I stopped tweeking out and adapted I discovered something I can really sink my teeth into!


Caroline said...

hey, i just found your blog today and i really like it. yoga rules!

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Anonymous said...

Great post! At one point or another we all get injured in some way. Here's to not tweeking out!

Anonymous said...

Great post! At one point or another we all get injured in some way. Here's to not tweeking out!

Anamaya Yoga Teacher Certification said...

Thanks for sharing your experience with issues related to Yoga. As an experienced Yoga Instructor working at
Anamaya Yoga
I believe this post will help a lot of beginners who have just started practicing Yoga.

Monirul Hoque
Yoga Instructor
Anamaya Yoga Teacher Training

Jaye Fiecke said...

I’m sure your physical therapist was just looking out for you when she told you to avoid those things. There was, of course, still a risk that the injury to your back could be worsened if not allowed to heal. I applaud you for seeing the bigger picture and following through with what your PT advised. I’m sure it’s worked for you and that you’re all better now!