It becomes a constant companion that we can’t seem to lose in a crowd. As the relationship matures it intensifies and becomes toxic. If we don’t listen to its gentle whispers in our ear it becomes a raging piercing scream from which their is no escape.
Lately I avoid driving because the pain gets too intense and I suffer for days to follow. I see how my life is contracting rather than expanding. I have two beautiful kids who deserve a full life and I find myself unable to find the energy or the enthusiasm to get out there and experience the world most days.
Since I became pregnant in 2006 I have continued sleeping on my side rather than my back. To ad insult to injury I sleep like a lopsided frog with my right knee up by my right armpit. Strangely for me this is very comforting and comfortable. Sleeping this way night after night, year after year has taken its toll. The scales finally tilted for me when I stopped taking the commuter train & began driving to work to accommodate the demands of family life. The acute pain in my right hip is at times, unbearable.
I decided to make some BIG changes. This gnawing pain had rattled me to the point where it had frightened me. However, I am a life long fighter, over-comer of obstacles and champion of a larger vision for my life. And so it goes.
My good friend and long term RMT, Shannon Halpin of Healing Cedar Wellness told me that I should go see a chiropractor; I listened. I was in so much pain and my hips were clearly out of line. Over seven years of motherhood I have also developed a nightly jaw clenching habit that has left my cheeks thick, my jaw square and my muscles so tight it filters into my daily personality.
Most people I know are easily turned off by an arrogant sales pitch. I am no different. So when the chiropractor pitched me on a year long $3,600 contract that was designed to be “‘affordable” for families, all before he had ever touched me I should add, I felt like running through the wall like Wile E. Coyote.
I looked at my organ & nervous system scans which came back in the very good range. However my four back x-rays made me cry, my spine was crooked as a politician. Here is one of them, what do you think?
I left his office feeling overwhelmed and I cried harder than I had in a long, long time. Then I remembered my core belief that the body heals itself given the right environment. I bought an unlimited yoga pass for the first time in my life and embarked on a 30 day challenge. Could I make it to a yoga class 5 times a week for a month? Could I re-train my body to sit straighter, stand taller and sleep without sticking my right knee into my right armpit?
This past month I have tried out new classes and new teachers, new poses and old ones. I have witnessed Cirque de Soleil level flexibility that not only reminds me how far I have to go but inspires me to see how far I can go. I have been inspired by a stiff & inflexible man in a black Budweiser t-shirt using every prop available to him just to get into a basic twist posture, bless him. We all do yoga for different reasons & it brings different blessings to each of us, all of huge benefit.
That said, I am seeing the chiropractor to shake things up and I am seeing great results, just not on his Freedom 40 plan. I do believe that he believes whole heartedly in what he does and the necessity of it. I just see things from a more holistic viewpoint. How can all the adjustments in the world make a difference if you don’t change the patterns with which you carry your body? At my initial meeting they asked me what my health goals were. I said I wanted to live a more adventurous life, I found this affirmation on Facebook and it pretty much sums it up.
My family tells me I seem happier. My husband told me one night about three weeks in, that I seemed a LOT happier. He started to elaborate on some stories about how I WAS before, then thought better of it as he remembered a compliment doesn’t end with an insult. Ahh, married life; but he was right, 100% right. I was grumpy and short tempered. I was tense, high strung and in pain 24/7. At the end of the day I AM happier.
Am I happy about this excruciating pain I have been in? No.
Am I happy for the journey it has me on? Absolutely. Nothing worth having is easy after all & re-gaining my poise, my health and a limber jaw are definitely worth having. Doing yoga 5 times a week is actually a dream come true.
I love yoga. I love the stillness of it. I love the awareness it brings to your body and alignment. I love how it keeps you present in the moment & in your body. I love how it gives you an opportunity to honour your body & spirit through movement and balance while honouring the others around you. Yoga fosters awareness, compassion, alignment, strength and humanity. I have never done so much yoga and I have never felt calmer, more aware of my body or more flexible.
Here is a brief re-cap of my yoga & chiropractic journey these past four weeks:
Enduring four sleepless nights, worrying about my little ones 105 degree fever and trying to stay on top of clients, feeding my family and not losing my patience made heading off to yoga class each night an absolute delight. I usually go during the day and enjoyed sampling new classes & teachers. Yin, Hatha Core, Candle Light Yoga & traditional Hatha classes were a softer & welcome experience for entering into this epic yoga journey. Five classes this week – check!
Two trips to the chiropractor and my jaw dropped and released in a way it hasn’t in years. The thick wall of tense muscle I usually have in my cheeks has somehow vanished and I my mood has shifted too. I am relaxed and more patient.
Officially exhausted now but still going strong. I am sleeping more soundly and I am waking up on my back sometimes too. This is a HUGE breakthrough. Enjoying the enhanced presence & awareness I feel in my body. The kids are healthy now and I have caught up on my sleep. I am paying attention to how I sink into my right hip when I stand and twist my shoulder, I am shifting my hips while driving to keep them balanced and am enjoying lifting my posture while preparing meals and standing tall! I am so dialled in that I waking up at night to adjust my sleeping posture. Five classes for week two – check!
Two more trips to the chiropractor. My back is popping a lot and I feel things starting to open up. Dr. Gil is doing a lot more adjustments per session now, apparently the warm up phase is over!
The kids are back to school after spring break and I am back to my morning Hatha Flow classes. My body is stronger but tired. This week I catch myself trying to talk myself out of going! Even though it feels so good, this is a common habit in people. My will is stronger than ever and for week three – five classes again! I notice some of my poses are progressing as I increase my core strength. Sadly, I am losing weight in the last place a girl wants to least of all me. I can confidently say, oluptuous is a term no one has ever used to describe this blogger. While I am comfortable with my body and always have been, breast feeding didn’t leave me with much and I would like to keep it! Five classes for week three – check (and yeah!).
Only one trip to see Dr. Gil. I am glad I started going and see the benefit of his work. I know my hips are starting to shift because they are hurting more again.
I am noticing how often I spread my shoulders back and squeeze them down my spine & take a nice long deep breath. This new habit brings about a sense of calm.
I often plant my toes into the earth in line with my heels. I feel the strength in my legs all the way up my inner thigh as I activate the muscles. This then reminds me to tuck in my tail bone and open my collar bones up to breath deeply and smile.
I had a beautiful break through with Crow Pose this week. I have always been in awe of this pose & thought my wrists were not up for the task, but here I am holding this pose for more than a fleeting second for the first time in my life…..and loving it! This is new and definitely a result of the challenge. On the flip side each time I get into Half Moon Pose I start trembling and topple over; a clear sign that my hips are tight and out of alignment. A special thanks to Chris & Leo of Kushala two of my yoga instructors who have had the largest impact on my yoga journey.
I am far from healed and free of pain. It took me years to get into this predicament and I am aware at the deepest levels of my soul that there is no quick fix for what ails me.I find myself going back into the “frog pose” to sleep again. I work at keeping my knees together if I can’t sleep anywhere but my side so at least they are in balance.
So on it goes. I see a lot more yoga in my future. I feel a sense of accomplishment that I stayed the course as well as feeling a decrease in pain. I have long since learned that Mama Bear has to take of herself so she can take care of the baby bears and so it is and so it shall be! I feel confident that with a lot more diligent work that I will have an adventurous 2014 after all. And yes, I made to five classes this week as well, Namaste!!!!!
Please leave me a note in the comments if you have a similar story I can read about on your blog or any tips on sleep training yourself! I am always looking for inspiration and ideas for more healthful living!
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