Tuesday, October 9, 2012

There was a crooked man, and he went a crooked mile,
he found a crooked sixpence against a crooked stile.
He bought a crooked cat, which caught a crooked mouse,
And they all lived together in a little crooked house.
Here’s the thing:  I have scoliosis.  My scoliosis was diagnosed as a mid-back C-curve caught as a part of a Girl Scout Camp physical when I was 10 years old.  Within 6 months, my spinal curve progressed from about 12 degrees to ~ 32 degrees.  I wore a back brace starting at age 11 which helped with the mid-back curve, but as I was out of the brace by age 15, it may not have been enough. 

In my early/mid-twenties, I started having back pain… sometimes so severe that I would lie down nearly in tears, pressing my low back into the floor to relieve the pain.  I had spasms that would make me suddenly bow forward, unable to stand up straight with pain so sharp it made me wonder at times if I was having a heart attack.  At age 24, my primary care physician put me on Celebrex which he told me I would be taking for the rest of my life.  I wasn’t really cool with that though, as there are a lot of issues with taking that kind of medication long-term.  At one point, when even the prescription wasn’t working, a friend at church gave me a gift certificate to see a chiropractor.  Since then, chiropractors and physical therapists have helped me significantly over the years and allowed me to quit taking prescription pain-killers altogether and only occasionally take a mild muscle-relaxer and over the counter pain relievers instead. 
My adult spine:  I still have a mild curve in my cervical spine (neck area) with mild osteoarthritis and spinal stenosis.  I also have a curve in my lumbar-sacral (very low back) region, with spinal stenosis which is all compounded by the fact that I have a naturally-fused vertebra in my sacrum.  AND that particular section of my spine is also twisted, which means it pulls on one side and pinches on the other. 
The icing on the cake is that in February of 2010, I was in a car accident where the car did a ¾ barrel roll landing on the passenger side of the vehicle where I was seated.  That served to increase my back and neck issues and seemed to cause me to start getting migraines, too.
Now to the topic of yoga…
I have now taken 14 classes in 21 days… not bad considering I was out of town for three of those days.  I had been seeing my chiropractor and physical therapist on a weekly (and sometimes twice-weekly) basis, but, having attended Bikram Yoga classes for these past three weeks, I have not been back to the chiropractor or physical therapist since September 20th because I simply haven’t needed to.  I did feel quite tight Sunday after the drive from NC to VA, but I went to yoga Sunday night and last night and I am feeling good again.  My hips are better aligned than they have been, I haven’t had any migraines, I have more range of motion than I’ve had in years, and my body is shaping up, too. 
So, am I now addicted to Bikram Yoga like I had been accused of being addicted to my chiropractor?  Perhaps… but the benefits have been extraordinary so far and I just don’t see any down-side.  I’m even going back for another Reggie class tonight…
So, despite the heat and the sweat and the discomfort of being in a room that hot and that humid for 90 minutes with a bunch of other drippy people all contorting their bodies this way and that, I think I’ll be visiting my studio as much as possible for as long as possible.
As Bikram Choudhury says, “Give me 30 days and I’ll change your body.  Give me 60 days and I’ll change your life.” 

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