Recently, within the last month, I’ve developed a severe chronic pain in my back. I’ve largely ignored it and now it’s at the point where it lingers all day long, eating away at my lower back when I stand for more than a few minutes. In the morning, I get out of bed gingerly. In the bathroom, I bend from the knees to lift the toilet cover up. I practically fall onto the seat. God help me if my toothbrush is stored below the sink.
The doctor told me that in my situation I needed to exercise to strengthen my back muscles, otherwise this chronic condition would worsen. Knowing my father’s history with back pain, the thought of it getting any worse has struck fear into my heart. Once your back goes, everything goes.
A few years ago I began to take yoga classes at the Harlequin offices. Each Tuesday at five o’clock, a nice woman from a yoga studio would turn one of our large meeting rooms into a little retreat with some mood music and dimmed lights. There, for an hour’s time, I would forget the drudgery of my everyday life and focus on breathing and stretching. It was wonderfully relaxing. This was the first time I ever committed to an exercise—class, routine, what have you. I took that class for over a year and a half.
When I left that office, I stopped taking yoga classes. I couldn’t find the same deal, nor a studio that quite imitated the experience that I got from my Harlequin yoga class. I tried looking for one, but it just wasn’t the same. Eventually life swept me into its waves and I forgot about it.
Yoga has come back into my life because of this pain. When my friend Kristen visited me recently, she inspired me to try doing it in the comfort of my own home. As she recounted her life in Morocco, where she taught for a year, she mentioned that she would frequently do yoga in a spare bedroom. What most appealed to me was that she would listen to whatever she wanted.
While I enjoyed my classes when I was taking them, the instructor’s taste in music was traditional, and while I could tolerate it, I wasn’t insired by it. Not a big surprise, given the fact that music is so important to my life. So, buoyed by Kristen’s experience, I’ve started practicing yoga at home, and it’s helped me immensely with my back pain.
I write this after a particularly vigorous 40 minute session and I feel no pain in my lower back, while before, as I was struggling to work on my laptop, I was hampered by the constant ache. Thank God for yoga. I encourage you to try it if you haven’t. It’s a great meditative process and it really helps you get the kinks out of what ails you. Most places offer a free trial class, but I’m a total convert to the self-practice route as well. Once you know enough moves, you can work with your body in your own time.
And, as a bonus inspiration, I offer you a link to my favourite playlist that I currently use as my mood music. It’s not quite the sitar and raga sort of yoga music, but it certainly does put me into a meditative state. The bonus part is it ends with Kate Bush’s Running Up That Hill, one of my favourite songs. Enjoy College’s Every Single Time mix on Soundcloud. And check out the Valerie Collective, which I happened to stumble upon accidentally one day. Fans of the Drive soundtrack (yes, that movie with the Gos) will be pleasantly surprised.