Yes, my back is still bothering me and YES it still bothers me! LOL. Dang it! I’m a yoga teacher! I’m supposed to be fit and healthy and flexible! I’m not supposed to be cringing when I bend over to pick up something or hold my palms to my lower back as I move from sitting to standing. It’s making me feel OLD! It’s been a week and I still have a small pain in my lower right back that just won’t GIVE. Thankfully Balance Wellness Studio offers a class to give me more ease.
Yoga for a Healthy Back is led by Karen Lucas. When I first met Karen I had the feeling that she could see right through me. You know, that feeling that a mother gives you? Like she knows what you’re thinking and what you’ve been up to and there’s no way to hide it? I found out later that Karen is a retired school teacher – Aha! That’s where that came from!
As Karen led us through the postures I had difficulty staying present. I felt frustrated by what I couldn’t do. At one point we were sitting with our knees bent. We were then directed to hold in our core and slowly lie back on the mat. I could go back about 10 inches but then my back started to hurt and I needed to use my hands to help lower myself down.
What felt best was a supine spinal twist with the knee straightened. For those of you non-yogis out there I’ll explain. Lie down on your back and lift the right leg straight up to the ceiling, place a strap around the ball of this foot, hold the strap in the left hand and allow the leg to drop across the body as much as possible keeping the leg straight. The right arm moves out straight from the shoulder to the right and the left leg lies straight down the mat. You can use a bolster or a rolled blanket to rest the right foot on if you like. Then do the other side as well.
We held this stretch for a few minutes. This can be an intense stretch in the hamstring, glute, side waist and shoulder depending on how tight you are and where the pain is located. This stretch for me felt like someone pulling really stiff taffy from my lower right back all the way to the middle of my right thigh. It was so good I almost cried.
What I really love about being the student in class it that it puts me inside the minds of MY students. I have had students who were hurting or stiff and I’m sure they felt exactly like I feel now: “frustrated with what they couldn’t do” and impatient to get better – to be able to do more!
How many times have we heard “I can’t do yoga because I’m not flexible” ?Well, DUH how do you think you get flexible? You must keep at it. No one changes overnight. With routine practice we WILL become more flexible and we WILL become stronger and we WILL become more capable.
And finally, It’s a good reminder to tell my students that it’s ok to NOT do every asana – especially if it hurts! If someone is hurting we must be aware of modifications for the asanas. If we can modify the pose for them, they will feel some sense of accomplishment and have a place from which they can work towards the full posture.
Yoga really is for EVERY body (not just skinny white women and super flexible ex-athletes) And it is my job to make sure that I make yoga accessible for everyone. I want my students to feel a sense of accomplishment and growth and to have fun wih yoga! I need to help them be patient with the process – even if patience is not MY strong suit! – LOL
Signed, Impatient with my back pain in Georgia – Hugs y’all.
Still learning, Still growing, Still practicing
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