Lay your hands on me

There are many hallmarks of a good yoga teacher.  Knowledge of poses – certainly.  Ability to create new, engaging, balanced sequences – sure.  Awareness of human anatomy – definitely.  Skill in verbally cuing individual students to move properly into and out of asanas – yes.  Giving strong, confident, safe physical adjustments – absolutely.

Sometime over the past 48 hours I “did something” to my neck.  I don’t know if I slept in a weird position, or if my posture was crappy for the past two days of sitting at my desk, or if I reached for a cup or plate “wrong” and moved my arm in a way that I shouldn’t have… but for whatever reason, yesterday I woke up with my neck hurting, and last night it was full-on aching like an SOB.  The discomfort was so pronounced that I:

  1. took pain medicine (which I rarely consume),
  2. begged my husband to give me a brief massage (which he did, though he had just received 4 shots in his arms himself {seriously, what a wonderful man}), and
  3. scheduled an hour appointment with a trained massage therapist (which I had today).

I also made it a point to get to yoga today (as movement really is therapeutic for hurting bodies {at least for mine}), but to tell my teacher before class that my neck was tweaky and achy (so that she would have awareness; teachers like to know {and need to know} if any student is having bodily issues, as the practice we do is a physical one).

Now, when yoga teachers learn that a student has some physical issue – be it persistent or intermittent, chronic or acute – many of them refuse to touch the student, lest they (the teacher) accidentally cause even more harm.  However, my yoga teacher is far from average.  She knew exactly what to say and do to ensure my body was not only safe during today’s entire class, but that I would leave the session physically better than when I came in.  She definitely gave me extra attention – and some of that attention came in the form of physical adjustments.  This instructor is very confident in her abilities, and in my body’s strength and flexibility (and I am confident in her knowledge and her years of teaching and practice) – so today, she went to town on me.  She stepped on my feet with her feet; she used her legs to brace my ribcage while she pushed on my spine; she pulled on my arm while simultaneously twisting my hips; she leaned her knees on my tailbone while pressing her hands on the base of my skull at the same time… she made my body move further than it could on its’ own – and it all felt absolutely fabulous.  Seriously.  To be in downward dog and have someone push on my hips feels amazing – I really can’t describe it.  To be lying on my back and have someone pull the base of my head away from my shoulders is fantastic – truly.  Of course, these things only feel good when I’m confident that the person who is doing them knows what they’re doing (!) – but that was definitely the case today.  My yoga teacher gave me some physical relief today – a few moments of freedom from the pressure of gravity, and the pain of compression.  It was delicious. I’ll take her touch any time she is willing to offer it.

This *is* a 'real' adjustment - and it feels terrific.


About Stef

A "serious" gal who is trying to remember to lighten up and smile.
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