Back to Basics

It has come to my attention lately that yoga is growing in KC and the midwest, and a lot of other places for that matter. Just the other night we had to turn people away from my class, there was no more room! I felt really bad about that. So we are adding more times. I believe that this is in part due to the many ways that yoga can serve as a supplemental treatment for many different health concerns. While some are just working to maintain wellness, others have a specific goal for starting a practice. Just in the last few weeks I have talked with several people wanting to try yoga on the advice of their physician that yoga may help with back pain, post-surgery, or in other ways. This becomes a tall order, because all pain is not created equal. Some back discomfort may exist with a desk job or any occupation with extended sitting. Other disorders such as a slipped disc or degenerative disc disorder may involve higher levels of pain. And if you have a loss of range of motion, what can you do to get it back? How can we tailor the practice to each specific case?

Very carefully. Our goal in yoga is to do no harm (we even call it ahimsa), well at least that is my goal as an instructor. I just met a yoga teacher the other day that told me, "I do so much yoga that I have to go to a chiropractor". I was sorry to hear that! While I find myself sore from yoga at times, I do think it overall has helped strengthen and lengthen my muscles, improve my ability to breath through duress, and helped me gain greater body awareness in terms of diet, posture, and alignment. Someone brand new to yoga should take it slow and err on the side of not pushing the practice, in order to see how the experience sits with the back, so to speak. I highly recommend one or two sessions per week for 8 weeks in order to determine if yoga will indeed offer some relief. You may see and feel results more quickly, but if you don't, please don't give up! If a regular class seems or feels to intense, it might be a good idea to try a restorative yoga class. This involves the use of props and very few poses, maybe just a handful that are very comfy and held for a lot longer period of time each. In addition as we address flexibility and strength, other measures such as weight loss, better nutrition, and awareness of posture might be pieces of the puzzles when it comes to your back or joints. Yoga is not a magic bullet. However, I do believe it can work wonders for those that are patient, open-minded, and willing to stick with it for a serious period of exposure in order to learn what is working and what is not. Of course as always, listen to your body, it's pretty good at letting you know what it needs. If that job sitting all day is causing pain, this may be a life changing time to pursue something more active. Be open to what you really need in life, and I strongly believe that life generally will be good to you. Notice, I did not say it will always be easy. There is growth in a struggle. I think most of us have experienced that.

Namaste,

Kat

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