I am a walking testimony about the benefits of yoga. Several
years ago my prognosis with chronic disabling back pain was
grim. I was getting epidural injections bi-monthly just to walk,
and was facing life in a wheelchair. Having retired early from
this disability, I resumed a regular yoga practice and found
I rediscovered the magic of deep yogic breathing to help ease
spasms and pain. I would send my exhale in my mind’s eye to
the areas of greatest sensation. I also incorporated the yogic
practice of detachment. I would observe back spasms without
narrative or attachment. This allowed me to reduce the amount
and duration of muscular tensing. Rather than fight the pain, I
practiced accepting it, and the intensity would often subside.
I performed the yoga poses slowly, coordinating my movement
with my breath, to avoid further injury or pain. I started
gradually and deepened the poses as my body was able.
With a dedicated practice, I was able to restore a sense of well-
being, strength, balance, flexibility, and posture. Where pain had
ruled my mental focus, I found myself able to think clearly.
Did yoga heal me completely? No. I still get injections, even after
a successful back surgery and daily yoga practice. I only need
a couple each year now. I no longer drag my right leg and can move
the toes. I don’t need a cane or wheelchair for mobility. For me,
that’s amazing and worth sharing with others!
I credit yoga with my ability to function better today. Because of
my experience, I choose to share my practice with others
who want to age gracefully or who may be dealing with mid-life
aches, pains and even chronic issues. Teaching a few yoga classes
each week maximizes my work ability at this time. And I am content.
I accept myself as I am, rather than focusing on what I no longer
am able to accomplish or earn. As an experienced registered yoga
instructor, I keep my public class fees affordable and accessible to
all. I want others to also experience the transformative mind/body
health benefits of a gentle yoga practice.