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Day 31 of 365 Days to Get Back to Myself

Today I had a student who thinks she may have a herniated lumbar disc in my Yoga class. She had injured herself some weeks ago and I had advised her to go to see someone who does structural work such as an osteopath as her injury was not getting better.

Can someone with a “slipped” disc do Yoga?

Well, I said I would post some postures for backs last week but Easter got in the way, now I’m going to let the cat out of the bag here, open Pandora’s Box and say yes, absolutely. I certainly wouldn’t advise participating in a large, general class where the teacher is unable to give you personal attention, but there are many Yoga practices that can be very helpful for assisting with any injury. If Yoga is practiced with awareness and gentleness there are many things that can be done.

Rest, relaxation, breathing- all good. Finding comfortable postures and lying supported to help relax all the muscles that have gone into spasm around the injury, definitely. Breathing to alleviate pain and oxygenate the system to assist the general healing process can be extremely good.

The thing I love about Yoga is that it is such a huge subject with a body of many thousands of years of knowledge behind it, there are levels upon levels to explore and even after 20 years of practicing Yoga I still learn something new every day. I have navigated Yoga myself with many different injuries, energy levels, fitness levels and even throughout my pregnancy (that was a really different way of doing Yoga, especially salute to the sun!). I have had clients of many levels and ages (one who was just out of intense surgery to reconstruct badly broken limbs) and always found that there are beneficial practices that can be done by absolutely anyone to create a better quality of living. All I had to do was take the client as an individual and fit the practice to them, rather than them to the practice. Consulting with my Swami (someone way more knowledgeable about these things) first of course to make sure I was going in the right direction!

Sitting in a comfortable position and breathing or meditating for 20 minutes a day can have such a beneficial effect on the whole system, or the simple, gentle joint movements of Pawanmuktasana are such a profound way to re- build strength and flexibility.

Yoga is not all about popping one leg behind the head, it is also about awareness and balance.

A simple posture that can be done with a “slipped” disc is Advasana. This relaxation posture creates a situation where the body is lying in a position where there is no pressure on the spine since during Advasana the body is lying flat on the floor face down with the arms along the floor over the head, forehead resting on the ground. This position can bring relief to a painful back and can even be used as a sleeping position. I remember the intense pain of my back injury and the absolute inability to find a comfortable position sitting, standing or lying down. If only I’d known about Advasana at the time!

Over the next few days I will be discussing Yoga practices to help with various problems, Yoga is more than just exercise, it is a healing art that uses physical, mental and energetic techniques to balance the human being.

So this is your chance, do you have a question about how Yoga can help you? Ask away and I’ll see if I can find something to suit you.

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