After I went to a Mindfulness Workshop put on by the Way of Compassion, I went home realizing just what I needed – I needed someone who understood yoga, and could walk me through setting up a daily practice that would help balance me where I was crooked from old injuries. I took a second look at the website of the host of the Mindfulness Workshop, Open Circle Yoga and there it was.
Viniyoga uses yoga in a traditional sense – as a formula to meet specific needs of the client/student. Poses, chanting, meditation all are introduced in order to meet the needs of an individual.
For 8 weeks I went to Yoga Therapy every Monday morning. From the beginning the daily yoga routine challenged me, and invigorated me. I faithfully took to the mat and worked through the poses, sat and chanted, learned different methods of breathing. My strength increased. My flexibility increased. I became more solid, steady, peaceful.
Going to the mat every day was extremely tough. Working through yoga poses can release body memory, ease and stretch muscles knotted from tension, fear or overuse. Emotions rise to the surface and flow out and away, and the tug in the mind that says, “I don’t have to yoga today….” becomes compelling. So there is a great deal of discipline with yoga, and courage to just step on the mat and see what happens, to accept what happens, and grow stronger, pliable, flexible, steady.
Melinda, my yoga therapy person, encouraged me, challenged me, and supported me as I struggled to find a way to approach the mat that was friendly and engaging without overdoing or avoiding. Yoga is about balance, after all.
But that wasn’t enough….
Due to the fact that I had sustained specific injuries to isolated areas of my body, and they had gone unheeded for years (apparently I am not the only one who has done that), I started going to therapeutic massage every Friday morning.
Although I had experienced different kinds of massage before, I didn’t quite know what to expect going to see someone about a specific region of my body. That’s good because therapeutic massage can be full of sensation. Take my right shoulder.
I hurt my shoulder trimming horses hooves. I strained against a hoof, and instead of the hoof giving way, ligaments in my shoulder gave way. A week or so later, I tried to throw something heavy and more ligaments gave way and my shoulder came right out of socket. Although I might have sought medical attention at this point, I went to a wedding, danced, flew on a plane and then went to the hospital. At the hospital, the Dr. said I was fine. I think he may have been mistaken. Foreign country hospital, woman strong enough to rip her own ligaments…anyway.
A friend of mine who was a PT (and who could clearly see my shoulder out of socket and my now deformed collar bone – which is misshapen to this day) suggested I wrap my shoulder. I did wrap my shoulder – it kept my collar bone from tearing that last ligament, reduced pain, and made it so I could…you know, keep doing my regular duties. Minus horse trimming – that was obviously something I had to wait to do again.
Back to almost present day (or 10 years later) – so the masseuse is checking out my shoulder blade, shaking her head when she hears I wrapped the shoulder, and unsurprisingly (to her) finds that my shoulder blade has adhered to my ribs…I didn’t even know something like that could happen. That is why I have had recurring shoulder pain – the stuff (white blood cells, blood cells, lymph fluid – you name it) that circulates healing, and swishes away toxins, couldn’t really reach the area that needed attention. It had been frozen out due to a lack of movement.
So, first off, Anna (the masseuse – who I was going to link to but can’t find a suitable link – I will update when I find one) starts slowly pulling my arm. I think it must be stretched to the maximum when she ever so steadily pulls a little bit more – repeat several times and we end up at the actual maximum/most I can handle that day place. Sensational. A flood of sensation ran through my arm while this was going on, and she worked around the collar bone and the shoulder blade, and every time we were finished for the day, I felt better, looser, and experienced less pain overall.
Better isn’t Finished
With yoga therapy on one side of the week, and therapeutic massage the other side of the week, I began to feel better and better. Most days I have hardly any pain at all. My energy levels are good, and I can do soooo much more than I have been able to do recently. I’m not at 100%, but I feel like I can get there someday.
I have to keep to a daily yoga and meditation practice, as much as possible. I go for a massage every few weeks to keep making progress with my muscles and try not to let them bunch in all of the wrong places, or tighten where they could be loose.
I started to feel like maybe I was straight/strong enough to get up on a horse. In this town, there happens to be a Bed & Breakfast which also has horseback riding. So, I scheduled a trail ride for me and my daughters there and we rode for a full hour. The woods were beautiful, the horseflies fierce, and the horses fun to ride. My horse managed piaffe when my daughter’s horse started back to the barn, and the trail leader flew back down the trail to catch them. My horse was like, yeah, let’s go! Uh, no.
So after an hour ride, I assessed my muscles, and other than a little saddle sore, everything else that used to really hurt after riding, really didn’t hurt much at all.
I don’t know. I have some paid work I’ve been doing, a small gig that’s not too many hours. There’s a whole world in my head trying to be born into a book – mapping, characterization, languages, currency and the whole fantasy world universe ready to go. If I can get a trail ride or too in while I am writing the stories of that world, all of the better. And I can’t see much beyond what’s in front of me on any given day, and that’s just fine with me. Keeps life interesting.