There was a pain in my neck. Some people would consider this karma since I have been a pain in the neck to many in my lifetime. But I don’t believe in karma, so I had to attribute it to poor posture, a tight shoulder muscle and the constant stabbing sensation that was residing in my left shoulder blade. All of which were symptoms of a recurring condition resulting from far too many years sitting at a computer operating a mouse. My left shoulder sat at least two inches higher than my right one. It had been years since they were level.
Upon retirement, which was actually a timely restructuring out of my job, I was very happy for two reasons: first, I was more than ready to leave the job; and second, I figured that the worst of my neck and shoulder issues would be behind me. I was now able to garden more, hike and walk more and started paddling our kayak at a relaxed pace. By the end of my first summer of retirement I was feeling pretty damn good about myself.
Something you may not know about me is that I am I wimp. Entering high school, I weighed 95 pounds and couldn’t run around the gym once without being so short of breath that an extended period of recovery was required. Breathing, while trying to accomplish some other physical activity, was not something that came naturally to me. I struggled in gym class, I struggled during the birth of my son, I couldn’t breath and move my arms at the same time while attending and failing adult swimming lessons, and I am the absolute worst at necking because I can’t catch my breath in the middle. The Doc was very understanding about this because this was my normal.
This particular pain started after a simple, innocuous event. Just a couple of hours having tea with a friend with my head turned slightly to the left because we were sitting kitty-corner. It just about did me in. It also pissed me off since I had thought I was finished with this kind of discomfort.
It took over six weeks to get in to see the manipulative physiotherapist recommended to me by a friend (Thanks Deb). It was painfully worth the wait. This physiotherapist leveled my shoulders and my ribcage and my hips. She untwisted my diaphragm and suddenly I could breath better. Not as deep as everyone else but better. She shook up my spine, resetting my vertebrae to where they should be. Something that years of chiropractic therapy hadn’t accomplished. She was absolutely amazing and I was reaping the benefits. What she couldn’t do was totally release the pulling in my shoulder and my neck.
For six months, I went to various therapists including another physiotherapist, who specialized in neck and shoulder issues, and my osteopath, who worked on my muscles and fascia. All of them were very good and improved the situation, but I began to realize that they could only do so much. Something as simple as sleeping in an off position or looking at my phone for a few minutes could result in a setback of epic proportions.
On the advice of another friend (thanks Gina), I decided to take up yoga. Ok people, lose that sure-right look because there is no way that I am going to be wrapping my ankles around my neck. I’m talking slow and gentle yoga to help me get fit and ease my body back to better health.
So let me introduce you to Adriene, my yoga instructor. https://www.youtube.com/user/yogawithadriene.
She isn’t paying me to recommend her. She doesn’t need to pay me. Adriene has over a million followers and is very good at her job. She is also available 24–7 so I can work with her whenever I want, which for me is as soon as I get up in the morning–anywhere between 7:am and 11:am. We convene in what is now my home yoga studio, a.k.a. movie theatre, a.k.a. baseball stadium, a.k.a. family room. She has sessions from five minutes to forty minutes in length I choose one depending on my mood.
I am an introvert and a bit of a hermit. If I had to get up, get dressed and travel to a studio or class every morning, yoga would not happen. So the fact that I can tune in less than thirty-five steps from my bed, is the perfect solution for me. One of the many reasons why I love technology and our smart TV.
My first yoga session was tough. I was having some focus issues, another new normal for me, and was also having difficulty following the routine. Some things I just couldn’t do and remembering to keep breathing was a huge challenge. But I kept at it because no matter how good or bad I had performed during each session, I always felt much better when the session was complete. My body would lose most of that crinkled-wad-of-aluminum-foil feeling that I wake up with every morning, and my ability to cope would be improved.
Five months after I started doing yoga, the number of poses I can easily do is expanding. Breathing while practicing is becoming a habit, although I still sometimes find myself exhaling when I should be inhaling and squeezing in additional breaths when needed. Each morning when I finish my routine, I am ready to begin my day. Plus, and this was my desired intention, the process has been beneficial for my neck and shoulder. No they are not cured, but they are getting stronger and more tolerable of previously troublesome situations.
On a morning not too long ago, The Doc mentioned that I was looking much better and that I was walking better and getting trimmer. All things that I consider bonus items, above and beyond what I hoped for. Then he said that perhaps he should look into doing something similar. That morning, I introduced him to Adriene. I believe they are bonding; or that he is, at least, tossing some of her moves into his new morning routine.
In the meantime, this wimpy bitch will slowly continue her journey towards getting fit. Right now, there is a recurring pain in my butt that is demanding some attention. I know what you’re thinking; I still don’t believe in karma.