Always hurting from something
During my first rolfing sessions, I ask my therapist if I can help her set up her table. She turns down the offer, which is relieving. My back hurts and I move with care and intention, trying not to fire off the twitch muscles. After my 6th session, I’ll learn how light the table is when she leaves me with it and goes on retreat. Moving it around really is no trouble, as she insisted.
My wife believes the back pain is from a mis-adjustment I received in yoga class. I agree and think that shooting down a 5′ wave that crashed on my back also contributed. It’s part of a collection of aggravations from the misadventures in snowboarding, biking, hiking, dancing, and even just exerting some. Sustaining bodily damage and persistent injuries puts me in constant recovery. My intention is to build up my strength, durability and resiliency for longevity. What happened in yoga class is ironic. Even as I seek out a healthy platform, I’m injured and slowed down.
My lower back bulges out. The vertebrae are sore to the touch. I behave like a timid swimmer, testing the water with a brush of a big toe across the surface before easing in. It concerns me, and my wife. For my last birthday, she gave me the rolfing 10-series. She offers this as help on my path of self-healing, so that I may live in comfort.
Let’s take the yoga intensive
We’re coming home from one of our walks, talking about the rolfing sessions. Why not use it to establish a health regimen? We both need it. Among our current options is an inneryoga intensive. We decide to sign up when we get home, where we learn that it started. That day.
Inclined to give up we call the studio instead. The class is on break. The person who answers asks Dina, the instructor, if we can join tomorrow. There’s plenty of room for us. After signing us up, he convinces us to come before the break ends.
Arriving late to class
The entrance is awkward. They’ve started. It’s a classic move for us. About as responsible and organized as a pub crawl, we lay out plans in advance which become difficult to follow. Yet we keep staggering on, barely able to keep ourselves together. We can be as tactful as a marauding party, occasionally making a scene. I’m afraid that’s happening during our entrance for a six-month long journey with these folks.
Invited in we find places to sit in the circle, and make ourselves comfortable. We go over the handouts for the class as it unfolds. We start with the inneryoga mandala and its balance of kindness, breath and awareness. The borders of it are the physical, emotional, and subtle bodies. In the center is the word ease and I’ve written underneath it the word flow.
We draw representations of our highest, and lowest, selves. We’re invited to accept the low-self without judgement, using the expression of the higher self to embrace its conditions and habits.
Developing our daily practice
We write down what inspires us, and I have:
- hiking around and being outside
- reading, writing and learning
- trying something new and novel
- having intelligent conversation
I choose to go on short walks to look at the city, thinking about the view from a park near our home. Erica suggests that after we finish our poses, we write down a word or phrase of gratitude that comes to us in the moment. This rounds out the elements of a daily practice to support our higher selves.
Doing our homework
The handout states that we should contact Dina to make up absences, which I do. I hope to make up some for how we started out. She tells us to write down our emotional, physical, mental states and energy level each day for a couple of weeks. At the end of it, she’d like a little report of what we’ve noticed.
When I pay attention, little itches present themselves in my physical body. My emotional state is distracted and my mental state is not clear. My energy levels are usually low. Is it because I write these things down after our gratitude practice, right before bed?
Changes from yoga and rolfing
I’m starting to notice other subtle changes. My daily walks has me developing the ability to scan the whole landscape with my eyes. Instead of leaping from one object to another, I continually perceive everything as I look around. It’s like a rolling point of contact, only with my eyes.
I’m also incorporating lessons from my rolfer in to my days. She has me thinking about how the psoas controls my posture. My current exercise is to walk backwards and when I turn around, to incorporate those feelings in to my walk. It causes me to lift my toes, step on the heel, and push off the toes to propel myself forward.
Rolfing and yoga has me feeling mostly better. Yoga has aggravated an injury to my knee. I am being kind and patient with it and wear a brace for protection and support. Overall, the results have me feeling happy and calm. It’s improving my relationship with my wife, and work is more pleasant. Next weekend is the second one in our inneryoga intensive, and I’m ready for the next step in the journey to getting healthy.