How Yoga and Swimming Took My Pain Away.
Joint pain. Lupus. Scoliosis. A disc tear in my lumbar spine.
Doctors told me at some point that I wouldn't be able to run or jump anymore, and that I should stick to very light hiking and yoga for the rest of my life. Although I do love yoga, and I love a light hike…I love a challenge even more. It took me awhile (about 5 years), but I have been back to running…and my hikes have gotten challenging and rugged, which I LOVE.
It wasn't easy. I love high intensity exercise and love to do everything FAST. I discovered yoga around 2007, when I was going through my healing transformation process after being diagnosed with Lupus. I practiced every day. It was hard for me to get into it, because I didn't feel like I was exercising and it felt so slow. I've heard many people say the same thing.
I also wasn't very spiritually connected…yet.
Eventually, I started to feel the changes. I felt my body was naturally aligned when I practiced consistently. I remember, before practicing yoga, going to the chiropractor and him always commenting on how out of alignment my spine and my pelvis were. Then, after practicing yoga for about a year, I remember my Tuina Massage professor at Samra commenting how perfectly aligned my spine was. I was blown away. I had stopped going to see my Chiropractor, so I knew that it was all because of yoga. So I kept practicing, and I got really into it. I studied it, and I wanted to learn more about it. So I went on a yoga/ spiritual retreat at an Ashram in Northern California. I learned about Classical Yoga, which I absolutely loved. Practicing yoga has provided so much insight, to my physical body and my spiritual self. I'm so much more in tune to my body because of it; I can feel where I need to soften up, where I need to tighten up and where I need to open up and relax. Also, my body feels more fluid.
As much as yoga helped alleviate a lot of my pain and discomfort, I was still in a lot of pain. I think it's because I still kept hiking, and sometimes this would aggravate the back pain. I knew my body had to keep moving for the pain to go away, but I felt confused. I would practice yoga, and do less hiking or none at all, but I felt like it wasn't enough. Plus, I was scared. Scared that with any wrong movement, I would make the pain even worse and I would be out for days, sometimes weeks. I couldn't live like this, I knew I needed something more. I kept hearing from different people and sources that swimming was great for joint and back pain, and a great sport. So I started swimming. Again, I wasn't into it at first; but eventually I felt the difference. I could feel my muscles soften up and relax more after swimming. So I kept on swimming, I started out with going twice a week, and eventually going almost every day.
The buoyancy you feel in the water helps you move your body without the risk of getting injured, or even feeling sore. I love swimming! Swimming has really strengthened my muscles throughout my body, I feel really strong. It has also strengthened my lungs and increased my stamina. Most importantly, when I swim consistently and combine it with yoga, it prevents and alleviates my pain and discomfort. I should mention that I have combined these efforts with regular acupuncture and chiropractic treatments. These 4 things have completely saved and restored my back. I used to think that waking up in pain and staying in pain on a daily basis were going to be a part of my life forever, but after combining these treatment modalities and therapies, I have been able to experience many pain-free days. If I can stick consistently to yoga and swimming, I am confident that I will live pain-free every day! Of course, it's important to listen to my body, sometimes I need a break, so I give myself one…but I love to push myself when I can.
Our bodies were built for movement. Our bones, our joints, the fluids flowing through…all perfect mechanisms to create movement. If we suffer from an injury, our body instinctually knows what to do, but we gotta keep it moving. Staying still and bed rest are some of the worse things you can do for your body. Unless, of course you have to because of an illness or acute injury or surgery. Eventually though, your body has to move after you've recovered your energy. So, please…keep it moving!
If you're suffering from an injury or chronic back pain, remember to have patience with yourself and take it one day at a time. Don't get discouraged, but remember to keep it movin, even if only a little bit. Also, feel free to reach out to me! I can go into more detail on how I healed my back and joint pain, and explain the process involved.
Leave me a comment below...I'm happy to help. :)
Here's to healing <3