Sunday, January 23, 2011

Yoga Bit Me

I did yoga in college for my PE requirement.  I loved the stretching and improving my balance. I loved how it made me stronger without competition or team sports.


When I graduated college I did yoga on my own for a while, mostly the sitting and all-fours poses. When I married and had children, I stopped doing even those postures.  For a while my girls were interested in yoga (or I wanted them to be, so I enrolled them in classes.) And I took yoga classes again. I discovered I much prefer doing yoga with a teacher who can correct me, than doing it on my own with a book.


My girls lost interest and I stopped doing yoga again.  I swam. I biked. I did exercises that don’t require correction or discipline.


That went on for about 30 years.  Then I got hit by a car while biking, and I needed rehab.  My physical therapist suggested yoga.  Yes. I had loved yoga.  I called a local yoga school.  Yoga had changed in 30 years. Yes, it’s supposedly a 5000 year old practice.  But now, nobody teaches “yoga.” There are many varieties of yoga.  For rehab, the school recommended Iyengar yoga. This kind uses props. Blankets, blocks, straps, ropes on the wall.  The props allow students to feel the stretch even when they can’t get close to the official posture.


Again I loved yoga and found value in having a teacher who could correct me.  


My Sunday teacher suggested I also study with her teacher.  Her teacher suggested I practice at home – not just a few days a week when I’m in class.  


I got a book that described all the niceties of each posture – where to stretch, where to balance. For my first time, I tried standing poses on the mat. Those are the exercises at the beginning of the book. The author of the book clearly thought standing poses were the place to start.


I was doing triangle pose and I lost my balance.  When I got up, I was in pain.  I went to my chiropractor who did what he could. He said I had a slipped disc.  I’m lucky I wasn’t in a pretzel posture when it happened.  I just looked like a sideways C.  He gave me exercises to help the disc slip back into place. And he had me come for adjustments several times a week for the next few weeks.


I’m better now. But I’m wary of standing yoga postures.  They bit me.  I still love sitting postures and all-fours postures.  


Yoga was supposed to help me heal. Now I’m healing up from yoga.  


Supposedly the Hindu gods inspired the creation of yoga.  The endearing thing about the Hindu gods is that they are fallible.  I guess it’s no surprise that their yoga isn’t perfect either.    

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