What are you doing about your back pain?

One of my students came to me this week and complained about lower back pain. I did some work with her, but nothing really changed.

Then I asked her about her lower back, what did she think that it did? She gave a long and detailed list. I was impressed with her clarity; most students have to stop and think about that. But I wanted more clarity, so I asked her what was her back’s most important job?

Holding her up was the answer. Her back was not doing a good job according to her.

I asked her: ‘what if your back didn’t need to hold you up. What if the natural design of your back meant that you were always fully supported’.

It didn’t make much difference.

Then I repeated it, this time using my hands for reinforcement. When someone has a core support strategy that’s faulty, it can feel risky to even think of changing. Asking them to change cognitively doesn’t cut it, their mind spins into over-drive, their body resists.

They need the experience of having a real choice. That’s the beauty of Alexander Technique hands on work, it can give you the experience of having another choice. It’s incredibly rewarding for me as a teacher to have this skill to offer. She noticed a definite shift in her lower back. Then the rest is PPP (practice, practice, practice). Practice is still a deal, but it’s easier when you know that you’ve been able to do it at least once.

So, if you have a realisation that your body is working way too hard and it doesn’t need to because you have a faulty idea about how your body works, is it all over unless you can get to a teacher who can guide you with your hands?

No, there’s another option. That is about creating an environment where your body has no option but to let go. And that is restorative yoga, the art of using props to restore ease in the way you deal with the world.

I’m covering all the options (body mapping, hands on guidance and using props) in creating ease in Yoga using the Alexander Technique workshop on February 24th 2018. There’s still space if you want to sign up.

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© Kevin Saunders, Yogaground 2018

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