Friday, November 2, 2012

Reflections on "Youthful Glow" from Yoga Journal

In the November 2012 issue of "Yoga Journal" Leigh Ferrara along with Desiree Rumbaugh share a sequence in the "Master Class" section of the magazine. As a person who has dealt with chronic pain much of my life, this sequence looked like it held some sound possibilities to incorporate into my daily yoga practice.

The area of my body that is most affected by pain is my upper back and shoulders. and this sequence focuses on opening the heart center and releasing tension in the shoulder region.

So three days ago, I started the following sequence:

Sequence: Prasarita Padottanasana: Wide-Legged Standing Forward Bend, variation

Chair Twist

Chair Shoulder Stretch

Dhanurasana: Bow Pose

Salamba Sarvangasana: Supported Shoulderstand, with a chair

Click on this link: Youthful Glow and you will be taken to the Yoga Journal website where you can read the article and see the poses. You will see how the pose is supposed to look. Make sure you are physically able to do these asanas before trying these. Be gentle as you proceed...

OK, now my reflections:
When I started this sequence on Wednesday, I noticed that my back was quite stiff. I was able to clumsily get into chair positions and notice that my tightness started to soften, but only a bit. My upper back cracked and I had an endorphin rush. It felt as if I were in a chiropractor's office and she was adjusting my upper back. AAAAHHHHHH.

On Thursday morning, I felt a sensation in my shoulders during the Chair Shoulder Stretch that felt oddly painful. I backed out of it slightly and tried breathing into my shoulder tightness. I stayed for only two minutes (maybe less--we tend to expand time when we are in uncomfortable situations.)  But I got up feeling a bit better than I did on Wednesday.

This morning, Friday, I noticed something completely different. My shoulders no longer had the pain in the chair shoulder stretch. It felt as if I had been doing this posture for months, but it had only been three days! I also varied the supported shoulderstand with a chair, by gently lifting my legs off the back of the chair and held them at a 90 degree angle to the floor. I was able to get into a deep relaxation in that posture. However, one thing I did not expect: I was feeling my emotions without panicking. I have been dealing with some uncomfortable emotions for a while, and it felt completely safe today to feel those feelings. So this is what is meant by having an open heart. I do not have any expectations for the day, and that right there is freeing.

So for those of you who struggle with upper back pain and tension, I suggest you try this. I am thrilled I found this sequence. I will continue in the next few weeks documenting my reflections of this sequence. I am very optimistic for some very positive results!

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