In this series, I’m exploring all the reasons I choose to do yoga and own a studio. What I’m discovering is that it could be a long series. There’s so much I love about practicing yoga!
But today, I want to talk about one of the physical reasons I practice yoga: my back.
If I could show you my x-rays, you would see a weird bone formation at L-4/L-5. Those are two of the lower vertebrae, just above the pelvis. When I was 18, I was having a lot of back pain, and I went to a Chiropractor. He found that I have a natural fusion of the two vertebrae, and that they form a strange shape, and are connected on the left side of my spine. This was affecting me in several ways. First, the spot of fusion was hurting a lot. It seemed that the fused bones were rubbing on the upper part of my pelvis, and since there was no natural cartilage there, it was pretty painful. Also, I got “referred pain”, which means that I had muscular pain on the right side of my mid-back, in my left shoulder, and in the right side of my neck & jaw. And I was just 18, and very fit.
My parents took me to an Orthopedist, who said he could do nothing for me. He also said that I wouldn’t be able to walk by the time I was 30, and then they would do surgery. (BTW, I’m about to turn 36 and I walk pain-free!)
Dejected, I began studying how to strengthen my back. I found that the stronger my back, the less pain I experienced. I was a personal trainer, and everything I had been taught had to do with the superficiality of the body-the muscles you can see. I began training the deep muscles of the back.
But then came yoga. At first, I was so frustrated when I struggled with some of the poses. I was so strong and healthy, right? But I learned that my core strength, while better than before, was sadly lacking. Yoga works better than any other exercises to target, strengthen, and stretch the deep muscles of the back, to support the spine.
Today, I have been practicing yoga regularly for almost 10 years. I have no back pain. On a rare occasion, I will “over-do” and hurt. But now, I know how to fix it. Yoga has been the ultimate solution to my back pain problem.
If you’ve got back pain, what are you waiting for? Try a class!