Years ago when I first got into yoga, I only wanted to be “athletic”.
All I really cared about was becoming great at yoga (although I was never actually that “great”).
I was pretty good though… and I had a decent repertoire of posts that I was minimally famous for in all my classes.
But I actually started doing yoga, because I really just wanted to get a really good workout.
So I did a LOT of Ashtanga (super athletic), tons of Bikram (that’s the super hot one), and some Hatha (relaxing) and Iyengar (props), and then all of the mixed things in between, including all the “fad-yoga” popups.
I admit that I took quite a long break from yoga in my last five years, which I term my “marathoning” years. I ran two full marathons and two half marathons in two years time. The fallout of that for me, lots and lots of pain.
On top of those extra running years, I was teaching tons of boot camp, doing lots of plyometrics and explosive type workouts. And in doing all that I experienced lots of pain, that eventually became a chronic problems for me because I never took the time to stop and manage it properly.
Then I discovered something really beautiful…
The Other Side of Yoga
It wasn’t until recently, like in the past two years, that I have discovered another side of yoga.
A side that I never really thought much about until I was trying to fix my chronic Achilles pain.
That side of yoga is Yoga For Healing.
And now what’s even more amazing is that the medical community is catching on to the value of using yoga for healing chronic pain.
The health care world’s increased acceptance of yoga therapy is partly due to a significant body of clinical research that now documents yoga’s proven benefits for a range of health conditions, including back pain, anxiety, depression, and insomnia, as well as its ability to help reduce risk factors for cardiovascular disease and hypertension. Yoga has even been documented as a way to alleviate the side effects of cancer treatment. Read more at yogajournal.com
This yoga journal article is really amazing because it details how the medical community is now using yoga to heal a lot of chronic conditions.
People don’t just benefit from yoga when they have physical pain from injuries. Yoga is helping with insomnia, anxiety, stress, high blood pressure and, amazingly, cancer treatment.
The research on yoga as a helpful component of cancer treatment has expanded the most, says Khalsa. “These days, it’s hard to find a major US cancer center that does not have a yoga program,” he says. “Patients are demanding, and spending more on, complementary medicine like acupuncture, chiropractic, massage, and yoga.” Read more at yogajournal.com
My Slow Healing Journey
For me, personally, getting back into a regular yoga practice this past year has helped an incredible amount with my chronic Achilles tendonitis.
My legs are looser, the pain is way down, and I just feel overall more flexible and more relaxed in my lower limbs.
And maybe I’m not the first one, or even the last one, popping up into a headstand anymore, but oh well. The benefit of getting older is that you don’t care so much anymore about being perfect. For me now, it’s more about feeling good every day, and I do, and I appreciate that my body loves yoga.
Give yoga a try. Add it into your regular workout routine. Of you don’t have a regular routine, start with yoga!