Yoga for a Healthy Back – St. Simons Island Georgia

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!


(Miss Karen)

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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Yamuna Body Rolling – St. Simons Island Georgia

My back had been hurting for four long days. I woke up one morning feeling a little sore and by lunch time I could hardly walk! As the days wore on I felt as if someone had wrapped a big leather belt around my right shoulder, looped it down through my right hip bone and was constantly cinching it in a notch. I was sure that soon I would look like the hunchback of Notre Dame! I was even starting to elicit stares as people watched me inch my way out of our truck onto the pavement – cautiosly moving from a seated position to standing. It was not a pretty sight, I assure you.

As a yoga instructor and active person NOT being able to move my body the way I wanted to – especially without pain – is like being in jail. I couldn’t ride my bike or go for a walk let alone practice yoga. Even sleep had been difficult. Try rolling over in bed without using your back muscles – LOL….It’s just not possible.

Luckily I had just made contact with Neely Hunter at Balance Wellness Studio on St. Simons Island, Georgia. Neely knew that my back was in bad shape and she recommended that I attend a class called Yamuna Body Rolling that she hoped would help. I wasn’t sure what it was or even if I was capable of “rolling” my body but I was willing to try anything!

I arrived at the studio and found that there were massage tables set up. On each table were two black rubber balls. Our instructor for the class, Kandy Duke had her sterling hair swept up at the back of her head, with long gypsy-esque earrings hanging down and a ready smile on her face. I liked her immediately! Kandy told us to get up on the table and lie down on our back then she began to instruct us exactly where to place the balls beneath our body.

We started at the top of the Sacrum. Both balls level and touching in the middle for equal support and pressure. We stayed there for about 3 minutes. Then we moved the balls down a little bit more– and held for another 3 minutes. I was surprised that it didn’t hurt! I knew how much pain I was in and presumed that pressing these balls to my back would cause more pain. Thankfully I was wrong. It felt extremely good! I heard myself moan in relief and even joked that I was probably drooling!


(getting the ball in the right place – then roll onto the ball)

I asked Kandy if rolling was another type of Self-Myofascial Relief. I was familiar with that and understood how it worked. Kandy explained “Using small balls, we first stimulate bone where a muscle begins, then roll through the tendon, the belly of the muscle and to its insertion point. Injuries are not generally in the belly of the muscle. The power of the muscle pulls on the tapered juncture, where the tendon attaches to the bone. Body Rolling helps cure micro-muscle tears where most injuries occur. By contacting the bone first, Body Rolling gives direct access to the muscles and tendons. Most modalities treat muscle and chiropractors treat bones, Body Rolling incorporates both very nicely.”

The class lasted for 2 hours but felt like only 30 minutes! Over the course of the class we rolled our entire spine from heels to head and also worked our outer hip area. At last it was time to sit up. This was the moment of truth! Before class sitting up would have taken me about 4 minutes to complete along with a lot of grunting and cursing. So as I began to lift my body up to a sitting position I was surprised to find that there was NO PAIN! I only felt a little twinge in my right bum but nothing compared to what I had been feeling all day long. On a pain scale of 1 – 10, I had gone into class a 9 and I was now a 1. A glorious, giddy, unbelievable 1!!!!!!

The thing that I like most about Yamuna Body Rolling is that you do it yourself! Once you’ve been shown how it works, you are in charge! You can roll your body as often as you like. You can do it at home, while watching tv, while reading a book, or even at the park! The balls are small and portable and you can take them with you. Yamuna Body Rolling increases blood flow to the area, increases range of motion and in my case decreased my pain substantially!

So if you are in the Coastal Georgia area come on over to Balance Wellness Studio and take our next Yamuna workshop. If you’re not that close, ask your local Wellness Studio how you can take a Yamuna Body Rolling Class. I promise you’ll be glad you did!

The next Body Rolling Workshop at Balance Wellness Studio will be held on January 29th. You can find all the information about this class here:

Yamuna Body Workshop

For more information on the Theory & Technique of Yamuna Body Rolling check out this article in the Journal of Physical Therapy Science: