Tuesday, December 27, 2011

No Leverage in Yoga

I’ve done spine twists, sitting sideways on a chair, using the back of the chair for leverage to increase the twist for over 30 years.  For over 30 years, I’ve enjoyed the warmth along my spine after a good twist.  Until my last yoga class.

We sat in our chairs.  We twisted.  Then it was time to put the chairs away and do floor work.  I couldn’t lift the chair. I couldn’t even stand straight.  I spent the rest of the class time, doing every relaxation (there really is no such thing as stretching – muscles don’t stretch, but they do elongate when relaxed) I could remember, trying to straighten my spine.

The teacher offered to call the fire department to carry me downstairs.  I was afraid that being lifted would hurt worse than anything I could do to myself. So, I continued to try relaxing my muscles in different positions.

Eventually, I was able to stand, and walk slowly, leaning to one side.  Two hands on the banister, and I got down the stairs, thinking NOT AGAIN.  This has be the worst year yet for accidents.

When I got home, I looked up yoga twists, hoping to find healing instructions.  Instead, I found this on Yoga Journal.   

A couple of tips for any twisting pose:

Elongate your spine by lengthening your torso as much as possible before coming into a twist. Think of reaching the crown of your head to the sky. Depending upon the twist, you may be able to press your hand into the ground to help with this action. A slumped over position limits your rotation.

Initiate the twist from the abdominal muscles rather than forcing a twist by using leverage. This will ensure you reach your edge safely.

Leverage is supposed to be useful in all areas of life.  But NOT in Yoga. NOW they tell me!  Okay, maybe yoga teachers have mentioned this throughout the years and maybe I didn’t hear it because I was having too much fun.  But, now I know, and I will protect myself in the future.

And on YouTube, I found http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_wYM64_1heo which teaches two good exercises to do for injured discs. And I found instructions for how to use ice.  I didn’t know that ice works best if you leave it on for 15 minutes or until the area is numb.

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