I was hesitant to write a personal post regarding my health & fitness. If anyone knows me, they understand I am probably the least fit individual on the planet. I was going to start tackling “fitness-y” posts when I became semi-competent in the art of yoga & could show off some sweet, twisty moves. However, I realized that most people who frequent blog posts in regards to fitness-y things aren’t pros. They aren’t experts. They’re like me– people who have to start somewhere given basically nothing (thanks, lanky monkey arms I never developed). So why did I chose to go down the path of yoga? Let’s get kinda personal….
I developed Scoliosis in middle school. As a middle school student, I didn’t really care. As a high school student, I didn’t really care. As a college student, I still didn’t really care. It wasn’t until the past year or so did I really realize how messed up my body had become… I am physically lop-sided (no seriously, I lean to the right). Today, at the ripe age of 23, I struggle with chronic back pain– unable to sleep because my back is screaming, unable to stand for more than like 15 minutes at a time, unable to sit for long periods of time, & the constant lingering pain whenever I carrying things (i.e. a backpack). I first noticed this when I was on the floor at a PRTF & at times, never had a chance to sit down during an entire shift due to crisis. I would have excruciating pains by the time I got home which is ridiculous when you’re 23. I continued to notice this as I began nursing school & had to wear a backpack again. I suddenly realized that I am basically screwed if I don’t fix this before I start working as a nurse (2+ years) or before I start having kids (7+ years). There’s something terribly not okay if you’re 23 & struggle daily with basic stuff like standing & walking.
So why yoga? Go google “yoga & scoliosis”*. In very (extremely) simple terms, yoga can help realign your body (physically, mentally, etc). The key for those like me is to strengthen our core. Strengthening the core means strengthening the muscles that basically hold you up (insert lots of physiological terms most people would end up googling). I never truly appreciated the benefits of yoga until I began doing it daily, starting in April. I began to attend a weekly (free!) yoga session with a friend. I learned basic moves & with an instructor who was able to position my body correctly (because, again, I am very lop-sided) I began to develop a sense of how my body should feel during certain poses. Prior to April, I would try to follow videos on YouTube or learn poses myself from a book. However, I had zero clue as to how my body should be feeling & I quickly realized how wrong I was doing yoga all this time.
Almost immediately after that first week I began to feel something. My body ached, but in such a good way. I could feel muscles I never knew I had. My chronic back pain became less chronic. Pain in my upper back, lower back, shoulders, & neck were temporarily alleviated. I could feel my posture improve. However, I realized that this was not going to be just a little weekly session. This had to become a daily routine. If I went one day without doing something, I could begin to feel the pain creeping back because I have not fully developed the strength in my core.
In addition to its physical benefits, yoga has also given me a chance to have a moment for myself every morning & evening. During this time, it is just me, my mind, & my body. I know it’s super cliche, but you really do only have one physical body. You gotta love it & take care of it. I deeply regret not appreciating my body until now, but I have begun a lifelong journey to fix it, to strengthen it, to love it.
My poses may not be perfect because my spine is physically curved, my arms my shake violently whenever I attempt any upper body strengthening pose, I may sometimes end up off my mat, my butt may sometimes not be tucked in, I may never master the headstand & my back may always be crooked, but I’m working on it.
Please note: I am not a yoga master/instructor/etc. Any pictures I post of my poses should not be used as a guide because my form is far from perfect. Yoga is a serious exercise & if you don’t do it right, you could really hurt yourself. The pictures I post are mainly progress pictures for myself & to show you that not everyone who does yoga looks like a perfect pretzel swan. I am merely a beginner & am constantly trying to improve my form.