One Day I Will Rule the World

World Domination, Babies and Middle Eastern Dance

March 6, 2011


So I’m still working at my forty-day yoga challenge. My back issues have become tremendously frustrating to me. Even more frustrating is the knowledge that, all things considered, it’s not that bad. It is really frustrating that it is so frustrating to me and yet there is so much room for it to get so much worse.

I want to say that yoga is not really fixing my body, but I don’t know if that’s accurate. What is accurate is that I don’t really feel great. But what is possible is that sometimes being fixed doesn’t feel great.

Prior to starting the yoga, the state of my back was approximately this: I woke up every morning with lower back pain. I tried to stretch regularly, but when I sat down to try a forward bend for my lower back, it was so stiff and seized up that I couldn’t even sit at a 90-degree angle to my legs, let alone do any forward bending in my forward bend. “No big,” I would say to myself, I’ll just prop my arms behind me and sit as close to 90-degrees as I can. Over time I will loosen up until I can actually stretch. But during that whole sit, my lower back would twinge and twinge, threatening some kind of horrible spasm and I would finally quit the stretch near tears. I gave up on morning stretching and instead I would just baby my back all day and it was good enough to get through the day.

I don’t do that anymore. But forward bends are still one of my worst moves. My lower back is stiff, stiff, stiff. And when I go to yoga, I try to sit down five minutes before everyone else so I can work on that forward bend because if I can loosen my lower back up the tiniest bit, then it makes the full yoga class 100x better.

And then I had this experience with forward bends. This week we did a lot of partner stretches and one of the stretches involved doing a forward bend while your partner, starts with their back to your back and then lays down backwards on your back, pressing you down into your legs. I was working with it, went as far as I could, and then really, really focused on the breathing and then lengthened my spine and went a little deeper and then kept breathing. And when I opened my eyes, I was about an inch away from my knees. I was wildly astonished. Even prior to the psoas problems, I don’t think I’ve been that close to my knees since I was a teenager.

Still, if yoga is making my body better, why am I still in almost constant pain? Some times this week I’ve felt like I’m in more pain that I was in before I started yoga. I am more limber, I am capable of surprising motion. But that motion still all hurts. And when I’m not moving, I still hurt. I go to bed with a heat pack on my hips almost every night. I have a vague fear that the reason I felt so good the first week of yoga was that fruit and veggie fast. How likely is it that I’ve gone back to feeling crappy because I’ve gone back to eating wheat and dairy. Ugh. Maybe I’ll fast for another week and see. I’d be a lot more willing to if sugar gets to stay in the menu.

I had more to say about yoga, about stretching your self as well as your body, about meditations and about practices from other cultures, but it is late and I am hogging the computer away from a husband who has to work late every night to try to catch up at work.

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