It was a great Saturday morning until I bent over and felt severe pain in my low back. I hurt all weekend long; it was challenging to sit, even harder to stand up. I tried Ibuprofen, an over-the-counter arthritis gel, and an Epsom salt bath. On Monday morning, I saw my chiropractor, who believed it was a muscle issue. Thank goodness because it felt like my spine was broken or like I had nerve damage. It was scary – I am 53 years old – is chronic back pain my new normal? I went home and took PTO – no way could I work my desk job.
As I write this article, it is less than two weeks later, and I feel much better. Not totally healed, however no more medicating, icing, and rolling on the ground with a tennis ball digging into my back. Part of the recovery was definitely due to yoga – the moving and stretching part of yoga. Not necessarily “the acceptance of a situation without being attached to a certain outcome” part of yoga.
For five years, with minimal success, I have tried to sell other attorneys on the stress-relief benefits of yoga. Maybe I can sell you on mobility and flexibility instead. Yoga improves your strength, flexibility, agility, and sleep. Yoga teaches you to breathe, and it can reduce your blood pressure. And it is just waiting for you to try it. Watch a yoga video on YouTube. Try a live class over Zoom. Or go to a yoga studio in person and try a class. Bring a family member or friend. Introduce yourself to the teacher and admit it is your very first yoga class. Scary for you and exciting for the teacher. Because yoga will change your life for good.
Studios offer a variety of yoga styles. Hot yoga, where the room temperature is over 95 degrees; restorative yoga, where you can spend several minutes with your legs up the wall (better than a nap); yin yoga, where you find stillness for several minutes, letting gravity and time do the work; Ashtanga yoga where you do the same poses in the same order in every class (predictability!). And of course goat yoga – some people come for the yoga, most come for the goats.
Yoga gives your body what it wants. Don’t let a back injury be the reason to try yoga.