It’s Back!

outdoorFloorSummer is in full swing here in Utah and that means practicing outside whenever possible!  Here’s a picture of my favorite summer practice space, my own backyard.  Don’t get me wrong, practicing in a class with beloved teachers and friends is fantastic and I highly encourage that but having your own private practice is so very important.  If you only practice in class and with that one teacher, then you have missed the purpose of yoga entirely.  Yoga is about you and only about you.  Does your teacher encourage you to practice at home or do they talk only about coming to the studio?  If your teacher isn’t encouraging home practice, isn’t helping you move your practice off the mat and out of the studio, then it’s time for a new teacher.  It is that simple.

Ok, enough of me pontificating about what your practice should be like.  Let me tell you something about mine.  I took the above picture Thursday afternoon just before I began my practice for the day.  The air was warm and I felt fantastic but my day didn’t start that way.  I woke with a fuzzy head and during my drive to work, my right ear canal was the center of so much pain that I could not see clearly through my right eye.  I excused myself from work and carefully made my way home.  Once home, my fantastic friend, Dhruti, brought me some garlic oil and herbal tinctures to help relieve the pain and speed my recovery.  How fast was my recovery?  It was only a few hours until I felt almost good as new.  I asked myself what else I needed and I knew I needed to be out back on my mat.

My practice was nearing its end.  I was seated in a simple matsyendrasana and I felt it:  My lower back opened up, released a huge amount of energy and began to spasm.  I’ve known this feeling on and off over the years and immediately came out of the pose.  I expected a sore back for a few days but figured I would be able to continue my regular activities including teaching a posture class and leading Yoga Nidra that night.  Less than 30 minutes later, the spasms in my back were so strong that I could barely breathe.  The first time I injured my back was moving boxes weighing 15 lbs.  I needed two full weeks off work to recover.  What I experienced Thursday night was much worse.

IMG_1017Fast forward 36 hours as I write this.  I can walk around the house with the aid of a walking stick and I can begin to slowly fold forward while seated in a chair.  This is a huge improvement from Thursday night when I needed 15 minutes to crawl on my hands and knees from the couch 15 feet to the bathroom.  Why the quick recovery?  I attribute it to four very specific things:  1) My brother-in-law, Brad, and another neighbor, Garth, gave me a blessing which promised a quick recovery and that I would be “directed how to move to speed the healing of [my] body.” 2) Yoga, my practice has taught me how to listen closely enough to my body to feel the directions promised in that blessing.  3) My tempurpedic mattress, it provides perfect support and takes all the pressure off of my back so it can relax completely.  4) My sweet wife and youngest daughter, their kind hands and strength have helped me when I quite literally could not help myself.

Ok, I have completely worn myself out writing this.  I’ll be in touch again soon.  Until the, Jai Bhagwan!