Back pain. Once we have lived to be "middle-aged”, it’s something very few of us haven’t experienced. I was unlucky enough to encounter it much sooner, in my twenties. My lifelong interest in movement and physical problem-solving led me to Pilates, and when I trained as a Pilates teacher I realized that the stronger my core became, the less often I felt back pain. But after having three children in five years, my back was hurting again. And the core-strengthening exercises of Pilates that had saved me before weren’t quite enough by themselves anymore. I still hurt. What more could I do?
Enter yoga, an old friend I’d been out of touch with for awhile, and Yamuna Body Rolling, an elegant system that allows one to do for oneself what once only a skillful deep tissue massage could accomplish. (Nothing against a good massage, mind you). Once I had spent some quality time releasing and stretching muscles that pregnancy and the rigors of motherhood had sent into perma-spasm, I was able to return to my Pilates mat and strengthen what needed to be strengthened. Voila, chronic back pain again disappeared from my life.
As an added bonus, I now have a bag of tricks for self care, ready for the next time back pain makes an appearance. For if I’ve learned anything in my years of working out and teaching, it’s that bodies, like cars, don’t stay fixed. They need maintenance and loving care to keep them running their best. But we are people, not cars; movement, sensations and emotions are intertwined in us. Maintenance that our bodies require allows us to function at our best. This ‘maintenance’ practice can feel wonderful to our bodies and souls, and has long-term benefits.