I’m grateful to be telling my yoga wheel story, for the significant improvement I’ve gained. I developed postural problems early in life as the result of a visual loss at age 16. The loss came on gradually and led to a diagnosis that met the legal blindness criteria. To see, I’ve had to hold things close and often end up hunching over to make out what I’m working on, whether it’s chopping on a butcher block, writing at my desk, or working on my tablet.
Looking back at wedding photos, I see even at age 30 my shoulders and head were already curving forward. As I’ve aged, I’ve begun to have soreness in my hips from arthritis. When all the physical stressors come together, my back muscles spasm. Also, four years ago, I developed peripheral neuropathy from a B12 deficiency. The nerve pain in my feet and calves from this can be quite uncomfortable, with only moderate relief from prescribed medication.
Because of my vision impairment, I do not drive and have been very dependent on walking to get around. I am often on my feet all day, but with the cumulative effect of the structural problems, I would need to get off my feet after just a couple hours. Dancing, one of my favorite activities, had led to hip pain and so I had to cut backon it.
- STRATEGIES TRIED
Neck, shoulder, and arm pain had become chronic from the bent-over position I’ve held over the years.
To relieve it, I’ve had many massages, trips to the chiropractor, physical therapy, yoga and other exercise classes, heated rice socks, pain-killers, and numerous anti-inflammatories such as turmeric and glucosamine. I’ve also favored nutritional approaches and have experimented with anti-inflammatory diets. There’s been a temporary lessening of symptoms, but none has had a lasting, systemic impact.
- IMPACT OF THE THE SHAKTI YOGA WHEEL® METHOD
Since conventional methods had such limited effects, I was getting ready to try acupuncture, as well as energetic and other more esoteric methods of healing. Then, I attended a workshop this summer on the Shakti Yoga Wheel® method and was intrigued. What if my discomfort, including nerve pain, was being caused by my poor posture?
I found the descriptions of anatomical maladaptation’s common in the U.S. and the images of postures in other non-suffering cultures to be compelling.
I immediately signed up for private lessons and devoted myself to the practices. I felt I would need the one-on-one lessons because I might not see what needed to be done in the group setting. At first, my body rebelled at the new way of moving and holding myself, but intuitively it felt right, and I quickly rolled with it. Initially, I was a bit awkward, overdoing some of the postures. However, I grew excited over the sense of command I experienced over my body. My instructor, Jessyca, was skilled and knew an impressive amount of detail about anatomy and her 23 years of teaching experience. The lessons were clear and specific. After six weeks, I had a spectacular recovery. I had assumed there would be some improvement in my skeletal structure, but only fantasized about improvement in the nerve pain.
All of it lifted! I felt waves of relief at the reduction of pain. When I pulled weeds in the yard, I was able to sustain the effort much longer than in the past with the benefit of the hip-hinge. I now enjoy bending forward because it feels good. Additionally, to my surprise, I feel more confidence, agility, and solidity because I have better command of my stride. As my vision decreased, I had become more tentative in my movements. The progress I made with the Shakti Yoga Wheel® method has given me back more assurance in maneuvering in the world.
To maintain my new, proper posture, Jessyca suggested modifications to my home. Instead of stooping over my tablet, I now prop it up at eye level.
Instead of hunching over to chop vegetables, I stand taller, using a modified knife that cuts set slices. I roll with my Shakti Yoga Wheel® multiple times a day. It all supports my postural health.
Although some symptoms show up occasionally, they are much milder and don’t stay as long. I just returned from a fantasy trip to England.
Taking on the Shakti Yoga Wheel Wheel® training was a big commitment, but I can’t think of anything more important than investing in one’s ability to walk and move from day to day. Now I’m even able to get back to dancing and having fun with my belly dance classes!
Guest author Nancy McFarlin, Arizona