Lessons from the Lower Back

Wheel pose
The pre-Christmas back bend (urdhva danurasana)

Right around Christmas, my lower back started hurting.  I assumed it was the too-soft-bed that we slept in while visiting my in-laws in MI or the 13+ hour drive home.  I have to say, I was a bit miffed that my lower back dissed me like that.  After all, I’m a yogini.  WTF?! I should be immune to these types of aches and pains.  So off to yoga class I went in search of the pre-Christmas ease in my back.  Each day I fought with myself, trying to force my way into my “usual” poses, while my back bucked, balked and bitched right back.

After about the 4th class (it takes me a while to catch on sometimes), I decided it was time to let go of my ego and embrace my new back.  I eased up on it and flowed into poses more gingerly. I paid attention to my abs, engaging them to support my back more fully. I focused on breathing into my back to nourish the muscles, tendons and vertebrae.  Instead of fighting with it, I let it lead . . . and it began to talk back.

It told me that some people feel this way every moment of every day.

It told me that suppleness starts in the head; it is not just a physical state, but also a mental state.

It told me to be compassionate with myself.

It told me to trust the lessons from my lower back and use them as I move forward in my practice and my life.

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