22 Jun Practice Slow to Pay Attention
Some people are in bodies that can move and flow, bend and fold without much ado. Other folks have injuries, aches, and pains that must be worked with. I’m more like a crazy inflatable arm guy selling cheap tires on the side of the freeway. We are all in such different bodies, aren’t we?
I did a vigorous vinyasa flow yoga class this past week and realized how prone to injury I am in my body. I didn’t hurt myself this time, but I do, sometimes just by moving too quickly in the course of regular life.
Because I’ve got some hypermobility (I’m “double-jointed”), I have to be incredibly mindful about how I move so that I don’t pull my sacroilliac (SI) joint out of whack. The SI joint is the one between your two back hip points, and when mine moves in a way it’s not supposed to I wind up with low back pain.
Hypermobility means that the thick, dense ligaments that connect bone to bone to stabilize joints are not as structurally strong as they are meant to be. Sometimes this is called “loose ligaments” and it’s always the case in a hyperextended joint.
So anyway, moving quickly from pose to pose without paying close attention puts my hypermobile body at risk of my low back going out. And then it just hurts until it’s better, you know? It can last for weeks. I make an effort to get my bones back into place with my practice (like a chiropractic adjustment), but the relief isn’t immediate. When I’m not moving mindfully it’s a pain, literally and figuratively. Pretty good motivation to be more cognizant, no?
Taking that vigorous flow class made me realize why I teach the way I do.
I’m usually quite particular with the alignment of the pose. We move very mindfully, step-by-step, into and out of the shape. The pace of class is slow, so our minds can hold attention on the actions and sensations in our bodies.
This is how I need to practice, so I don’t hurt myself. It’s important that nine times out of ten we leave our practice feeling better than when we started. I’d say ten out of ten, but let’s be real, life’s not perfect and neither are we.
Confused about the different ways of doing yoga? Take a class! There are a ton of pre-recorded classes on YouTube at your disposal, and two new live online yoga classes a week: an active class on Tuesdays and a stretch class on Thursdays. More details are below.
And please, always let me know if anything you do in class hurts. We can chat about it to see if we can find a solution.
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