18 August, 2014

That old friend, the herniated disc

Today was vinyasa with Chelle at Be Luminous.

The last time I had a "flare-up" of the lurking low back problem was about one year ago. That's not a bad run, really. I can't complain. Here and there, over the past week, I have experienced tiny hints of discomfort in the low back, but not what I would officially refer to as "an episode." I've come to know its nature quite well. But today, on our first Sun Salutation B, immediately upon coming into Warrior I on the right side, "BAM!" It gave "The Twinge." If you've ever had low back problems, you certainly know about "The Twinge." When "The Twinge" occurs, you know that you have, once again, entered "an episode." It was relatively minor enough that I was able to do most of the practice, but I had great difficulty with all of the Warriors, and pretty much anything that required me to bend backward. So I did what I could, trying not to exacerbate anything. At an appropriate moment in the class, I let Chelle know what was happening, so that she wouldn't be wondering why I was bailing on all kinds of things that she was calling out.

So here I am, again, with what I guess you'd call an injury, but I'd say it's more like a condition.

I don't expect that I will ever be free of the episodes. I have this condition, and it will periodically flare up. I hope it does not progressively get worse, but I know that it either will or won't, irrespective of my wishing. I try to take good care of my back, though probably not through all means possible.

The injury's return is not a plague. I prefer to see it as an opportunity to practice with what is. This is what is happening in my body now. I can like it. I can hate it. But it doesn't change it. So why bother with the judgments? I have no real option but to embrace it, and see this as a time to be "extra present" in my practice, because now it's not business as usual. I need to notice what hurts, what doesn't hurt. I need to not do further harm. I need to understand the nature of it, and then (as will undoubtedly be the case), observe as it gradually improves, returning me to the physical state that I was a few days ago before this bout began.

This is life. It will be full of twists and turns.

I am hardly fazed by it anymore.

Now, if I could only say the same for the unexpected setbacks!

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