Adventures in Yoga – The Chiropractor

Sunflower.1Wellness

My poor friend Patrice, I don’t know how she puts up with me. Daily I text, waxing enthusiastic about the joys of a particular brand of yoga pants that make my butt look amazing. The upside to my backside as it were. Everyone should have a pair.

So I tell her. Often.

This is what friends are for, right? 

Someone needs to remind Patrice. I can later today when I text her that she really, really needs to check out these yoga pants that make my butt…well, you get it.

Lucky for Patrice she’s on the other coast, but her distance doesn’t deter me from sharing lots of discoveries that I think are momentous. Like fabulous yoga pants.

And the chiropractor.

It sounds like the name of a Seinfeld episode. “The Chiropractor”

I text Patrice whenever I’m in the waiting room- waiting to be manipulated. 

It started out simply enough. My lower back had been hurting so badly I wanted to scream all of the time.

Wait. I’m afraid that you read that last sentence and thought- Oneika’s lower back hurt. I actually wanted to scream. All. Of. The. Time. No hyperbole. No foolin’.

Muscle relaxers and pain killers didn’t seem like a solution. A permanent fix (no pun intended) was needed. I’d been to a chiropractor before but didn’t have a lot of success. Actually, I ended up at the doctor a few days later with two scripts in my paw because I felt worse.

Someone told me about Brian the chiropractor. I’ve come to learn that this is what everyone calls him- Brian, the chiropractor and not Dr. Corrigan.

I  thought chiropractors were quacks, big quacks was skeptical. But I was also in pain and slept with Motrin next to my bed- so desperate times and all that.

Have you seen The Answer Man? Arlen Faber, the grumpy main character suffered from back pain.

While I wasn’t this dramatic (outwardly)- I can assure you this is how I arrived (in my head) to Brian the chiropractor’s office.

Some more important details. The office visit would only be $20. Right? That’s what I said to C, who first told me about Brian the chiropractor.

Me: What? 20 bucks?

C: Yes, for the first visit and then it’s only 15. He’s amazing, seriously. My husband goes as well.

Me: 20 bucks?

I had serious side-eye (again in my head) because it sounded too good to be true. Fast forward to me slugging Motrin by the fistful and the large hole in my stomach that was sure to soon follow. I didn’t have much to lose.

On a Friday, Brian gets me on the table and tells me that I have a twisted sacrum. This is before I even mentioned my problem.

I wanted to weep tears of joy.

After receiving an adjustment (which was less pleasant than I imagined it would be) he told me I’d be tender for a few days, and should come back Monday.

I paid and left, cautiously hopeful.

Saturday morning arrived. I was sore but not in pain. Not at all.

I realized that I had been in so much pain that the world looked different once it had been removed.

Cartoon animals followed me around singing songs about possibility! and tomorrow!. Flowers sprung up as I walked down the street. Sold.

I went back on Monday. I felt even better.

So much so that later that week I was practicing headstand while listening to Amel Larrieux’s ‘Afraid’. One should not jam and headstand. Down I went on my neck.

It was scary. And it hurt like a muthaf@ck*r.

I went right to Brian’s office and while he worked out one knot I was already swelling up. He gave me the adjustment and I let out a deranged laugh, because there is no crying at the chiropractor. But after, I sat up and was able to turn my neck back and forth.

I was reborn. Ave Maria blasted from the heavens as I walked home.

He’s my hero. I’m sure there’s a bit of transference going on- but I swear the man can do no wrong. You read Yelp reviews and wonder, oh puhlease, who is that good?

Brian the chiropractor.

I want to throw up my hands and shout, “I am healed!”

I feel a little euphoric after I leave perhaps this explains why I think my chiropractor is the bee’s knees.

Once or twice week I pedal down to his office and get an adjustment.

My practice has changed dramatically. Energy flows through me more evenly. I feel balanced. I have a stronger sense of wellbeing. My hips which have been super tight for-e-ver have begun to release.

forevergif

I’m not saying that the chiropractor is for everyone- but it works for me.

So in the waiting room I sit and text Patrice about pops, cracks and yoga pants. She’s a good sport.

Namaste y’all.

Adventures in Teaching Yoga – Who Are My Students?

You know what? There’s something that isn’t discussed that I didn’t really hear until after I started teaching. 

It’s been my biggest lesson so far. I’m sorry that I haven’t talked about it earlier.

As a new teacher you teach people who are new to yoga.

Yeah, and you say?

Check it.

I practiced yoga off and on for more than a decade before I did YTT. In the year and a half before I was brave enough to do it, I was practicing several days a week. Then I spent YTT with women who had advanced practices. I started practice at least once a day. Progress in my practice was exponential. I don’t just mean on my mat either. My approach the the entire world was underlined with a broader sense of compassion.

To say that I was livin’ the dream is a gross understatement.

Cool right? I know. I had managed to cultivate a pretty bad ass existence.

Throughout the process our primary teacher told us that we’d be teaching new students and that would mean that we would have to focus on the basics. I heard her, but didn’t listen.

Isn’t always the damn case?

Most of the people I teach have new or newish practices.

It’s my job to help them find the best expression of a pose.

My job break down the connection of body and breath in a way that is accessible, challenging, peaceful and hopefully lots of fun.

Many people I see are just getting started or coming back to their mats after a hiatus. It can be intimidating and scary.

It’s critical that I remember that not everyone has a keen sense of body awareness.

Not everyone knows what the quadricep is or where it’s located.

When you say connect with your breath- you have to explain what that means.

It’s the reality of teaching new folks. And that’s cool. When I’m ready to headstand I will. Right now, I’m learning how to be a beginning teacher who has students who love learning about yoga.

The Answer Man is a fun little film about a curmudgeon self-help guru who learns to love the people he inspired. The woman he begins to date gives him (and me) sage advice:

  1. Don’t take advice from people you wouldn’t trade places with.
  2. Try not to say things that you can’t take back.
  3. Something is what it is, so it can’t be something else.

Number 3 is my mantra.

Modifications, encouragement, space to breathe and a soft place to fall is my job for my students.

I let them know that their best pose in a moment is the very best that there is.

class

 

Not comparing today to yesterday. Not worrying about tomorrow.

I show them how to feel from the inside out and outside in. And it all takes place in the now.

I smile at the thought.

It’s a blessing that this is my new career.

As my own practice grows my students will grow and my style will evolve.

It’s what is. It’s pretty incredible. You can set the tone for someone deciding whether or not to continue with yoga.

It’s a big responsibility. One I do not take lightly.

I keep my sequences simple but interesting, I give lots of modifications. I celebrate. And I make adjustments to my class if it seems too challenging or if a class seems ready for something more.

Life. Is. Good.

This is yoga and it’s for everyone.

Namaste y’all.

20130509-065253.jpg