Have you ever hurt your back so badly that you can’t figure out how to get out of the bed in the morning? Every little movement creates such intense pain that you’re just kind of stuck. After a few minutes and some thinking and maybe even some breathing, you finally manage to get your feet on the floor. You struggle and wince as you bring yourself to upright and you begin to gingerly limp your first steps of the day. That’s what happened to me earlier this week.
I just got back from a family roadtrip vacation to Disneyland in Florida. The long days of driving and sitting in the car really did me in.
You might be thinking, well, Zelinda’s a yoga teacher, she must practice a lot of yoga, why is she having back pain? Shouldn’t she know how to avoid getting aches and pains?
The truth is that we’re all susceptible to injury. The health of our anatomical structure depends on two factors: how we use our bodies and how well we take care of our bodies. And honestly, the first few days of vacation were so busy and/or fun that I didn’t take care of myself like I should.
I’ve dealt with chronic back pain from the time of my second pregnancy, 5 years ago, until a few months ago when I finally healed my back pain with a combination of consistent therapeutic Yoga practice and improving my sleeping posture (more on sleeping posture another day).
But on my roadtrip, with so many hours spent sitting in the car, my back muscles, legs muscles, hip flexors, and glutes all got really tight. Couple that with sleeping on unfamiliar beds and pillows, and it the return of severe back pain was imminent.
And while I did do yoga every day of the trip, I apparently didn’t do enough during the first few days to counteract the effects of so much sitting. Then when the back pain hit, my body begged for longer practices.
By doing targeted, therapeutic Yoga practices, taking ibuprofen, and drinking lots of water, I managed to get the pain under control enough that I was able to participate in our vacation activities, even if I still had some degree of pain.
And then as soon as I got home I started using my foam roller to undo the tension that had built up in my back. After 15 minutes, 75% of my pain was gone. Seriously. It was magical.
While I slept that first night home, the tightness and pain crept back in, but in the morning I did a practice and more foam rolling to get the tension out.
And now, on my third day back at home, I’m back back to my normal, pain free self.
Why am I telling you this long story about my back pain? Because I want to illustrate that Yoga is much more than balancing on your hands or twisting your body into a pretzel. The gentle, therapeutic style of Yoga that we teach is amazing for dealing with aches and pains in your body.
If you have typical, every day aches and pains, they can usually be resolved with two or three Gentle Yoga classes per week.
If you have chronic or acute pain, it’s probably best addressed in a private lesson so that we can focus on your specific issue and create a customized practice for you.
And for general maintenance, you can do just a little bit of Yoga every day at home. Don’t know what poses to do? Don’t worry – I’m going to make a special instructional video for you. Look for it in next week’s newsletter!