Category Archives: Yoga practice

Retreating from Sensational Pain

Imagine stretching during yoga practice and feeling great and then bending to put on your street clothes and having your back refuse to let you stand upright.

I have had trouble with my lower back off and on through the last few years so I certainly didn’t think yoga practice was the problem. But I stayed away from practice, primarily because I couldn’t stand to sit in my car for the 30-minute commute to the office. Slowly, I regained flexibility and eventually felt so good that I paid for a weekend yoga retreat that included writing exercises and gluten-free food! This was a big deal because I don’t spend money easily and I have never been on a retreat.

Seems as if a lot of the people I know share that attitude: they were not interested in spending $ on something so foreign. So I reached out to a long-time friend who I have been out of touch with for way too long.  Turned out that Teri, who also is a writer, practices yoga and … the most critical part … was willing to make the financial commitment.

So we were both very excited and then my back went out again.

Should I stay or should I go? I didn’t want my investment to go to waste. The drive to the east Texas lodge was only about an hour and a half but I really couldn’t drive. Teri graciously agreed to be the chauffeur.

So you are wondering if I just lay in savasana all weekend? No, I did not. The practice included restorative yoga (yes!), yoga nidra and poses that I eased into as best I could. At the end of the weekend, which also included much wine drinking, I sobered up and felt well enough to drive back home. IMG_1281

If this happens again, I’m going to a back doctor but I will not stop practicing yoga because it helps.



Practicing Balance

The wonderful building where I work provides free yoga classes at noon and after five on Tuesdays and Thursdays. When I first heard about an opportunity to exercise for free, I had to check it out.

One day I slipped into the practice room in street clothes to watch. The instructor seemed reasonable and the class fairly diverse. I could fit in here.

So cautiously, I started coming to class, stretching in new ways, but placing my mat at the back of the room so I could learn. There are some accomplished students – mastering crow, bridge and monkey poses.
Black birds on wire

Feeling a little out of my league, I focused on the instructor’s voice.

“Listen to your body. Maybe you don’t feel like grabbing that foot behind you today. Maybe you just want to stay in savasana, go ahead and lie there like a corpse. It’s OK. You’ve already done the hard work. You’re here with your mat.”

Really? She gave me permission to take it easy. That kind of exercise is a far cry from when my personal trainer told me I wouldn’t achieve anything without running. For me, yoga practice has been the best. I attend regularly now and sometimes I even set my mat closer to the front of the class.

Balance poses are the most troubling; my tree [pose] rarely sways in the wind without falling down. But we laugh; might as well, right?

I get to enjoy humor, oxygen, and better circulation every time I practice. My employer is benefiting too because post-yoga I feel energetic and alert. While I recommend yoga to everyone I know, I suggest that if you give it a go, try not to compare yourself with other students. This isn’t that kind of thing.