Starting Yoga and Eating that Delicious Humble Pie!
Yep... that is definitely NOT me! I wish I could do something like that, but first of all... I'm not really the photogenic type (I'm the sort that jumps out the window when a group photo is being taken...) and second, I'm nowhere close to being that flexible!
Anyway, before we get to the yoga part... time for a bit of a backstory.
Over the last few years, I've been slowly losing the ability to throw crap and abuse at my body and absorb the impact without problems. Through most of my life, I've not been afflicted by serious health and physical afflictions that tend to affect many musicians and instrumentalists. In many ways, I've been blessed in this regard... as I've been the annoying type that never actually bothered to do anything to avoid injury, it just stayed out of my way. Many of my colleagues would be doing Alexander therapy and various other physical posture treatments and techniques to try and get rid of the pains and aches that are a bit of a common theme in our profession.
Meanwhile, I would be the one with the most terrible posture habits.... and not get any problems. I did take an Alexander class during a year in Australia, and during that tuition... the teacher did say that I had a pretty good way of dealing with tension and posture... in that I didn't go out of my way to avoid tension (which paradoxically can be a form of tension creation), but instead cycled constantly through tension and relaxation. Apparently this was a good thing if it was in balance, and it is something that has held me in good stead over the years, even if it was much more subconscious than a conscious technique.
Fast forward to now... and a few years ago, I started developing a bit of a niggle in the left lower back. Normally, it would appear if I was sitting for long periods of time (like in an orchestra... or on long-haul flights..).... and I thought nothing much of it. It was an annoying little thing that would just keep me awake with a slight dull pain in the hot summer nights... and then be gone again as mysteriously as it appeared.
However, after one long-haul flight from Australia... my left foot felt like it was dipped in fire! I had knocked it on a corner quite hard... so, I thought that it was broken somewhere (or that I had a blood clot...). So, I went to the emergency department where they were able to take an x-ray... which showed NOTHING! Nothing is more embarrassing than being in total pain with nothing apparently causing it... luckily enough, it passed after a few days.
Anyway, after a bit of contact with a relative who is a physiotherapist... it became clear that the dull back pain and the excruciating foot pain were linked, with a tight muscle feeling down the left leg as well. Of course, after the pain passed... the incentive to really do something about it passed again. I concentrated more on sitting well and with a good posture when I had to sit and reluctantly started to some pretty minimal exercise.
The pain had appeared one more time whilst I was on tour... and let me tell you, hobbling onto stage as if nothing was wrong is not an experience that I would like to replicate! Now, my wife does the "hot" Bikram yoga on a fairly regular basis... and she has long suggested that I try it out to help with my problem.... and I've been pretty much lukewarm about it.
Last night, I was up all night as my foot was again on fire! I think it was the heavy work with the gardening the day before that aggravated everything... and I've started to think that a bit of yoga might actually help me. During this corona period, the yoga studio is closed... and the instructor has been doing online live and recorded classes. My wife was pretty pleased when I said that I would give it go... so we fired up a lesson!
Now, if you've never done yoga before... it is much more strenuous than you would think if you are doing the poses properly! This teacher is pretty good, and there are some pretty amazing students in her studio... but I'm nowhere close to that! It was an amazing workout.... despite the fact that I was completely inflexible... and some poses I wasn't even able to attempt due to the pain in my foot.
However, the stretching was really very good for my back and leg... and the dull pain had gone away for a few hours. Likewise, the pain in the foot was muted... but still there. I think that in the end, it was a great idea to do the yoga... and I sheepishly admit (not for the first time...) that I should probably have taken my wife's advice much much earlier!
So, I think this is going to be a regular (perhaps not quite every day...) routine to get some strength and flexibility in my problem left leg/back. Maybe I can reclaim a bit of the carefree physical abuse that I can inflict on my body!... However, baby steps first... I want to get rid of this incredibly pain first! I really hope this is the way!
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