How Yoga Healed My Lower Back Pain
“Relax your hips!” he said.
He pushed on my butt with the full weight of his 350 lb. frame.
“I thought I was!” I half-yelled back at him.
“You know how you said you carry all your stress in your shoulders?” he replied. “You don’t. It’s all in your hips. The next time you get another massage, make sure you tell them.”
Then he proceeded to push on different areas of my posterior for the next 50 minutes.
He was probably the best deep tissue massage therapist I had ever gone to. He specialized in sports-related tension, so he was exactly what I needed.
Unfortunately, I only went to him once. A college student just doesn’t have the money to spend on such pleasantries. The only reason I went to him in the first place was my best friend, who also happened to be my teammate, gave the hour-long massage to me as a birthday gift.
I learned a valuable lesson about myself that day: that the sometimes excruciating lower back pain I suffered through college was due to tension in my hips.
Some of it was stress, some of it was the crouched, C-position a volleyball player sustains through training and matches.
All of these were things that wouldn’t just go away of their own accord.
I almost fell asleep driving home after the massage, I was so relaxed.
And then the next day came, and the pain started to come back….
Have you ever been in so much pain that you’re willing to part with maybe even 100’s of your hard earned dollars for someone else to make the pain go away?
It’s a disempowering feeling. Especially when the pain comes back, and you realize you have no tools for getting rid of it yourself.
That’s where yoga comes in.
During the first yoga class I had ever attended, I felt the muscles in my lower back release for the first time from something I had done.
And that relief came from several yoga poses I had to modify, because I wasn’t flexible enough to do the full pose.
That was the beginning of my yoga journey. And the beginning of a much healthier relationship with my body.
These days I practice yoga everyday.
I don’t necessarily pay money to attend a class, or practice at home for 45 minutes every day.
(A person only has so much time ? )
I simply have about two or three poses I use to maintain a healthy spine.
Does this mean I don’t ever visit massage therapists, chiropractors, or physical therapists anymore?
Quite the contrary!
I like to schedule an appointment with Fighting Fit’s own resident massage therapist (and awesome fitness coach), Hannah, anytime I get a chance.
If I have an injury, I’ll definitely go see a physical therapist. However, my daily yoga practice makes these visits much more effective.
After Hannah massages all the tension away from my hips or lower back, I can help maintain the relief she’s provided, by the gentle poses I do when I first wake up in the morning.
My daily yoga practice provides much more body awareness, so when I need to visit a physical therapist or chiropractor, I bring more awareness to whatever exercises he or she prescribes.
More awareness = more effectiveness
One thing my personal yoga practice has taught me is that lasting pain relief can only be achieved when the person experiencing the pain gets involved with the healing process.
This active involvement teaches the person how to adjust or change the behavior (physical, emotional, etc.) that contributes to the pain.
It empowers the person to make these changes.
And it ultimately saves a lot in medical bills down the line.
I’ll leave you with a sound bite from Champion UFC Fighter Connor McGregor explaining the benefits of bringing mobility to your spine:
If this kind of practice works for a UFC fighter who puts his body through training – the intensity of which most of us will never know – how much more beneficial would it be for the rest of us?
How much more necessary is it?
Yoga Instructor At Fighting Fit
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