Chair-Based Back Pain

I don’t like to complain… but my back hurts.

I think a lot of authors feel my pain #cliche about this one.

I’ve been looking for workouts to help with my low-back stiffness and weakness that has shown up thanks to the chair-bound work that is writing. I found this video and wanted to share it – in place of the product used as yoga massage balls, I’m just using a rolled-up towel – or one of those foamy things would work well, too. Anything to give your pelvis a lift during that segment will work.

I’ll post an update on if it helps!


Day 6 of Yoga: Back On Track.

Alright, I’ll admit it. *headdesk* I fell off the boat and got ran over by the bus. Well, that’s a little bit dramatic. In truth, as my sickness intensified and my word count climbed, I focused on writing for the last few days, and I’m extremely pleased with the results… but on those days, I barely did any yoga. I did some … but not much. A few minutes each day.

So today, in order to get back on the boat/bus/bandwagon/dragon, I did twenty minutes of yoga on my own with no video guide. I wanted to really focus, to really feel my body work and concentrate on my breathing, so I shut down distractions (except for the 4-year-old, who is quiet enough in the living room that she didn’t bother me except to join in for a while) and stood in my yoga spot.

For the record, my yoga spot = my kitchen.

I don’t have a lot of yoga poses memorized, but part of the problem with following along on a video is you don’t have a lot of time to really process the poses and figure out how your body holds best in them, which muscles are engaged, where your breathing is. Also, glancing and craning to see a small laptop screen while trying to hold these theraputic poses isn’t the easiest task in the world, nor the most beneficial on the body and mind.

So I did some poses, but mostly just moved my body around, stretching what wanted to stretch, engaging what wanted to engage.

And I realized, as I moved about my kitchen in both proper yoga poses and made-up ones, that I had already learned a lot and knew a lot despite feeling distracted by the videos. I was able to move freely, yet incorporate much that I learned, and it felt great.

Day 6 of yoga: gaining some confidence and independence, back on track.


Day 2 of Yoga: Knocked to the Side, but Not Derailed

I had the best of intentions this morning when I got up – I planned to get my kids dressed and fed early so we had time to do a round of yoga. But my oldest kid got up and said she didn’t feel well, and when I got up, I felt it, too.

Thankfully, it’s just a round of cold-type symptoms and even more thankfully, it’s just me and her, for now, none of the other kids and not my husband. *whew.* Every mom knows how much it sucks when every kid in the house is ill.

As the day progressed, I read a really amazing book that I’ll post a review for at a later date. I relaxed a bit, did some dishes, cooked dinner… and in the late afternoon, it hit me. Continue reading

Taking Things Slow – 30 Days of Simple Yoga

I received such an outpouring of support and love after my last post about handling life like a grown-up. Thank you, seriously, so much – I will never stop trying to grow and improve in all areas of my life.

But as I pondered the positivity that resulted from my slightly-whiney post, I wondered what other changes I could make in my life to add some bonus positivity and energy. Such is the focus of a New Adult life, isn’t it? Continuing to grow… continuing to strive… And as my last entry was largely inspired by frustration with the lack of exercise in the writer’s life (and slightly motivated by the shape of my ass as it conforms to my chair), I thought perhaps exercise was the key to picking up my mood and helping me charge forward.

So I decided to try yoga. I’ve tried some DVDs of a water style of yoga before, which was quite different than traditional yoga and while it was alright, it never caught my attention. But I’m a type that thrives on information, so I did some research, learned about the benefits of yoga and dove in on YouTube to try it out.

Day 1 of Yoga.

I tried a couple beginner level workouts, making a total of 18 minutes of yoga. I didn’t know what the hell I was doing. I had no idea yoga involved so much constant movement, and as the video progressed, I kinda flopped around as gracefully as a penguin. Everything shook, but nothing hurt, and I wobbled all around in positions far less aesthetically pleasing than the demonstration on my laptop screen.

And when the first video was over, I feltawesome.

The second workout was supposed to help “open the back and hips” so I tried that, next, knowing that my lower back and hips give me a lot of trouble in weeks where I’m consistently glued to Microsoft Word. All was going well…

Until the lady stood on her damn head.

“Okay,” I thought, “no problem. I’ll just watch this bit. Not for me, but that’s fine.”

So I watched… and was delighted. She doesn’t just stand on her head and look badass (which is part of it). She trusts her forearms, head, shoulders, neck, core, legs, everything… enough that she can raise her legs into a completely inverted pose, move around, “play around,” she says… she is creative with her body, trusting of her muscles and has an absolute blast doing it. She describes her movements as being like a cat stretching out in the sun… yoga, for her, isn’t exercise. It’s joy.

And I want to be able to do that. Not all day long like this lady does, but still. I want to strike my own balance with my body that leaves me feeling happy, satisfied, and content, like a cat stretching out in the sun.

Will I ever be able to stand on my head? Well, it opens blood flow to the thyroid and increases metabolism, but so do some of the easier poses, too. I don’t know. I do know that I will feel better with more movement in my life, and that I’m not going to demand a goal like standing on my head of myself. The only goal I have is to feel better with it. But it’s interesting to have a goal like that… not one of rank, as when I was in TaeKwonDo and not one of weight or size… but of trust in my body.

As a former sufferer of disordered eating and a current fighter against body image issues, that is a seriously big deal to me.

But I start exercise programs all the time and fall off the boat. TaeKwonDo was my longest since I quit ballet: a year, and I dropped out at high green belt due to the instructor’s intolerance of my daughter’s less-than-favorable behavior (I don’t blame the instructor for growing frustrated, but I can only tolerate teachers taking discipline so far). I did Zumba for a number of months, and while I loved it, it seemed to aggrivate my asthma after a while and didn’t help my back pain. So… yoga?

To keep myself on the bandwagon, I thought I’d try it here. I’m going to post 30 days of yoga… I might not post every day, but my goal is to do a little bit of yoga every day and update as I go… and that’s the beauty of yoga. Even if I only do a sun salutation, a four to seven minute stretch through the poses… it counts.

This is a lesson to myself in sticking with exercise, in NOT pushing myself to burn out, and in taking things in moderation. It is also an exercise with trust in myself… because with yoga, there’s no failure, only progress within yourself. I like that idea. Sounds…. like no pressure.

So this morning, my oldest daughter (who has communicative/social/flexibility issues that don’t fit neatly into a descriptive box), had twenty minutes of extra time before her bus came. I threw on a yoga video – seven minutes long – just for fun, as a surprise. She was delighted. We started moving through the motions… and then my other children joined.

Pretty soon, I had no room to move at all. And that’s okay, and that counts, too. Afterwards, my daughter said to me, “That was the best surprise ever. Does that make you strong like situps and pushups do?”

We googled yoga together and talked about improving your energy flow to balance anxiety, stress, happiness, and help your body be stronger in many ways… and she was so excited to hear it all.

Will it help her days at school? Who knows? Will it help me combat my chair-ass? *shrug* Probably, but that’s not the point. The point is that it can do no harm to try, while other exercise programs I’ve embarked upon can do harm in one way or another, and the only goals I have are within myself. No competition. No disappointment. Just… movement.

Day 1 of yoga: complete. On to day 2.