Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Small Exercise is Wonderful

I’ve been taking Feldenkrais classes at my gym for about a year now. The teacher is always telling us, you don’t have to make the biggest motion you can. You can make it small. You can even imagine yourself doing it.

I thought this was for the less fit students, so they would at least try.  It never occurred to me, that these minimizations could help me.  I’m strong. I’m able to relax my muscles. I’m working on becoming more fit. Why go small?

This morning, I woke up with an ouchy low back ache.  I decided to try meditating with body relaxation. Translation – meditate lying on my back.  Breathe into parts of my body, starting with my toes, then the bottoms of my feet, then the tops of my feet, then my ankles, working all the way up to the top of my head.  I did this for about an hour.  I still hurt.

My husband woke, and he wanted to meditate lying in our bed.  I did not want to get out of bed. My low back still hurt, and it was only 5 AM.  I wanted to exercises my low back, but not disturb my husband’s meditation.

I decided to try very small motions with my low back, side to side, tilt and reverse. I decided to try making them smaller and smaller. The pain increased each time I tilted to the left.  I decided to play with that. Smaller and smaller.  

Suddenly, something went *pop* – just a very small adjustment. The pain level went way down. I continued doing small repeated movements, the kind that bore me in Feldenkrais class.  But this time I was curious – what was moving more easily? Where was I still stuck?  

I didn’t find anything, but when my husband finished meditating, I was able to get up with very little pain and by the time I’d gone for a walk, I was almost comfortable.  Small is powerful!

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