Well, this is interesting.
A veteran of neck and shoulder problems, I woke up Monday morning (Super Bowl Monday) not with a hangover, but with a stiff, sore low back. Assuming it was muscular, I stretched, showered and went about my day.
Tuesday I felt ok, still not right . I attended a Yin yoga class in the afternoon and felt mentally refreshed, still stiff and sore but no pains, no numbness or tingling, still assuming its muscular.
Wednesday … I could sit for long periods of time, I could stand, I could walk but any transition … from chair to standing or in or out of the car, for instance, was horribly painful. Then, for instance, once I stood up, I’d take 4-8 steps and my low back would seize up. I mean take your breath away pain, but just for a few moments.
Thursday morning I went to put my dog’s bowl on the floor for breakfast and ended up frozen on the floor. I took the day off and went to get evaluated, told I “may” (no tests have been done, this is just someone’s experience talking) have bulged a disc in my low back. The pain and discomfort was now also in my right hip & flexors, making movement very difficult. After some treatment I was told to go home and take it easy, treat conservatively and visit my doctor on Monday if I didn’t feel a whole lot better.
Immediately I started thinking of the things I could do at home if I were basically confined to my house for 2-3 days. Laundry, organizing, some light cleaning, a work project I could bring home and do.
Um, no. Apparently rest and conservative care means no matter how much laundry or how dirty the floors are they wait. No lifting, minimal bending, no twisting. I was told not to even try to go into child’s pose for awhile, THAT’s how stiff and sore my low back is.
OK, I’m a yogi. I take class regularly and tune out everything else and am present in the moment. I teach and am totally present in the moment. So why am I having such a difficult time letting go at home? Shouldn’t I be able to just let go of my personal to-do list and relax in order to heal?
I should. My “regular” life, both professionally and personally, keep me moving at such a pace that I have trouble shutting off at home. I am coming to learn that I do not let go at home as I do in the yoga room.
Whenever I walk up the stairs to the studio I learn and teach at, I begin to feel a sense of peace, relaxation and realization that I’m about to do something I love. If my mind is at full steam, its at 3/4 or 1/2 steam by the time I sit down. Usually by the time we are done with warmups and breathing I’m there. On the occasions it takes me longer I still almost always get there by the end of class.
Its like my body and mind have become addicted to certain words and places to let go. So now I have to strengthen my practice and bring it more into my “regular” life. I didn’t realize that I had such a divide between my yogic life and everything else. I thought I had gotten pretty good about bringing yoga outside of the studio. I have learned today that I am very very wrong.
I will relax, I will let go. It sounds almost like I’m commanding myself. I will be trying for the next few days to be quiet with my body on purpose, not just because its exhausted. In order to help myself I have to, and I know its not just me that has this issue.
I’ve had more than one student race into class at the last moment then watched them struggle for a few moments to be present and relax. Then once class is over they start checking their phones and I can see tension and that sensation of being wired creeping back in. All of our lives are busy and full of schedules, anxiety, stress. Give yourself permission. The laundry really will wait. Even if you just take 5-15 minutes a couple of times a day to sit still and let your mind and body relax and let go, you will notice a difference. This is not necessarily time for asana practice or even meditation. This is resting, effortless, just being a lump on a log time. Don’t let an injury force you into sitting still.