21 February 2006
Lately, I’ve been taking a yoga class twice a week (though I may take it a third day so I don’t stiffen up quite so much over the weekend).
I first took yoga as a teenager, back when hatha yoga was hatha yoga, and the pronunciations seemed to come from Hindi speakers rather than Tamil speakers.
This quarter, I decided to enroll in a yoga class at foothill. Not only were the poses named with the English (rather than Sanskrit) names, the pronunciation of Sanskrit (even for words like savasana) threw me off.
So, it turns out I’m taking Iyengar, and, while I wasn’t paying attention, it took over as the dominant form of yoga in the U.S. There’s reasons this is a Good Thing, mostly having to do with each of the postures being designed to strengthen and/or flex certain things and precision helping in that regard.
However, right now, Just Doing Anything is quite difficult for me. I’m in even more chronic pain than usual. Yoga teacher will chide me, “You could go deeper.” I respond, “Well, it took me prescription muscle relaxants and pain medication to get even this far, so that’s where I’m going for now.”
The other day, when I was in tears of frustration because there was so much I couldn’t do, one of the instructor’s assistants said that I could go do Child’s Pose if I wanted. I pointed out that I can’t even do that without a supporting bolster (which, since this class isn’t in a yoga studio, I didn’t have access to). Fortunately, I’m now starting a restorative class in a yoga studio. Yay.
I’ve discovered that my weak spots weren’t the ones that I’d thought were weak — sure those were too, but they weren’t the primary problem areas.
The harder part, though, is that I hurt more (on average) than I did before — and expect to do so for some time. That’s the nasty part about working through chronic pain (and fibromyalgia in particular). In fact, that’s why I’m up writing this at 4:45 a.m. — I haven’t been able to sleep yet.
Anyhow, one of my problem areas has turned out to be weakness in the muscles on the top of the feet, which frequently hurt after yoga.
Well, I’ve discovered something: these also work particularly well for sore shoulders and sore tops of feet. There’s a few other places they work well, mostly where the ache is very close to the skin’s surface. For example, I’ve found them helpful when my knuckles hurt, or when my mousing hand gets a knot in my forearm. I use gold for the bottoms of my feet and blue for everywhere else.
To put this in perspective, when my primary pain is in one of these places, using the pads can cut the quantity of analgesics I need by 1/3 to 1/2 plus make me feel just a bit better overall. At first, I wondered if this were simply placebo effect, but that would have worn off in three months, and I’ve been using the pads for six.
Unfortunately, today I’m out, so my shoulders hurt and my feet hurt.
I should have more in a couple days, though….