We seem to have an epidemic of back pain in our society. We sit at the computer for hours a day, often forget to eat nutritionally dense food and certainly don't drink enough quality water.
Over the years, I've realized that we need a multi-faceted approach to help alleviate pain. We firstly need to release pressure points through the use of a variety of rollers, massage balls, wooden blocks, dowels and slings. For best results, we need to take a few minutes each day to release our trigger points- they have taken a life time to build up and will need consistent attention to let go permanently.Traction and inversions using yoga slings sometimes provide instant relief as they allow the spine to decompress. It may take participants some time to relax enough to actually enjoy the process but it is worth persisting. With time, we actually incorporate muscle strengthening and rebalancing while we are in the sling.
Yes, muscle imbalances, we all have them to a different degree. This is why we need to either work privately with someone who can help us determine what they are or attend classes where different options are provided for people with different imbalances. A yoga class which may make one person feel great may increase the pain for another participant. Try to find small classes with lots of individualized attention and guidance. Our teachers need to help us become more aware of our habitual ways of moving and perhaps reinforcing our discomfort. We need to awaken our attention and build not just flexibility but strength and balance. We may need to slow things down enough so that we can actually become aware of how we are moving and learn how to flow in a safer manner.
Our breath is often restricted in areas of pain. Gradually, as we learn how to feel where we are breathing and where we are avoiding the breath, we can also learn how to direct the breath into areas of restriction thereby releasing tension.Stress and emotional issues definitely need to be addressed as they contribute to an immense amount of pain and illness. We all deserve to relax and experience a state of ease. Gentle and restorative yoga, can really help us alleviate pain especially when combined with our other approaches.
For the past few years I've been experimenting with many raw food recipes and enjoy sharing them with others at our retreats and workshops. If you'd like to learn more, just let me know. Check out our recipes and please share yours with us.
I plan on experimenting with healthier food choices and am growing some swiss chard, kale, herbs and edible flowers. If you know of someone who can teach us about the healing powers of local plants and mushrooms, please contact us and perhaps we can learn together. Another possibility for this summer is a healing through great foods and yoga, so please let me know if this is something that interests you.
Water - so much has been said about it. Avoid drinking water that has been sitting in plastic containers in the car. Drink good quality water - plenty of it. Our discs are primarily comprised of water and as we age they get dehydrated so let's drink to better back health.
We lose a direct source of circulation to our spine by the time we are about 40 years old so we need to activate the blood flow into that region to help reduce the risks of degenerative disc disease. Just lying on the roller each day and massage gently even as we watch TV can do much to keep our spine growing younger.