I had an amazing weekend. I went to Tofino with my lovely little family and a couple friends. It was gorgeous. The sun shone, the fresh sea air was invigorating and I got to hear my husband and baby boy laugh together (the giggling thing is pretty new).
The trip meant a lot of time in the car. It meant carrying my 17 pound baby in the Ergo for three hours while I sipped wine and sampled food at the Tofino Food and Wine Festival (I really can’t complain there). It also meant not partaking in any of my asana practice.
Whatever the cause, I got out of the car in Nanaimo to a back that felt like it was holding on by a thread. My sacrum was duck tailing, my hips were out of whack and I felt like someone had stuck a screw driver into L2 and twisted. Boo!
If you have been keeping up with my blog (you sweet sweet people, you) you are probably thinking, wasn’t she just complaining about her bad knee? Why yes, yes I was.
Injury – it happens to everyone. Sometimes it happens in a yoga class when you over stretch or take a fall. Sometimes it happens outside your asana practice when you catch your edge snowboarding or pick up laundry off the floor in just the wrong way. However it happens, it usually sucks and it causes the injured to alter how they move though their life in a way that can be frustrating and even depressing.
Normally when my back goes out I protect it from my vinyasa practice and stop moving out of fear of hurting myself any further. Today, with hesitance, I decided to drag my limping body over to my Monday Iyengar class. Sure there might have been a little ego that got me there (I’ve always been the type of person who hates missing out) but once there I knew I had actually made the right move. I told my teacher about the injury and Louie immediately put me in positions that made me feel better physically and mentally. We started with buddhakonasana at the wall, holding ropes above our heads. We worked on lifting our torso out of the lower back which instantly reduced the compression I was feeling. Then we worked to spread the lower back against the wall while rotating the shoulder girdle which beamed our hearts toward the top corner of the room. I felt taller and safer in my body.
Louie reminded me that when our backs are sensitive they give you instant feedback. Is that movement working or not? Anyone who has had a bad back knows this is true. Those twinges of pain that cause you to retract in terror from whatever you are doing is what drives us to over compensate. With slow, thoughtful movement you can stop doing the things that cause you pain before you have to recoil, before it’s too late. These careful movements can help rebuild the strength needed for recovery. Just listen – listen very closely.
Injury often comes and goes in our life. It’s scary and it can be debilitating while it’s here. But again I am reminded that yoga and life are not a race. Whether it is walking on a sandy beach, sipping a fantastic Chenin Blanc or relaxing into a sweet savasana, in a generation of instant gratifiers it’s work to take the time we need to care for ourselves. We rush. I know I rush.
Yes, I am still working on slowing things down. Today I am working on taking time to breath, move and listen, giving my body the extra love it craves – right now.