In order to get to my holiday destination this summer, I drove 1,400 km over two days. That is quite a long drive for me. A few days ago I did the return trip. And what a positive difference on the body this return trip was!
The difference was the feeling in my lower back after sitting in the car for a prolonged period of time. For the last few months I have had this fascination with the psoas muscle after learning about it in depth at a workshop in June this year (see blog post of June 7 for picture of psoas). So during my time away, I decided to incorporate a few exercises targeting the psoas muscle in my yoga practice. Not only because I believe they would be good for me, but I find them fun too!
You know how car seats are, they make your pelvis tilt backwards so your lower spine is rounded while you are sitting driving? Not an ideal placement of the pelvis and spine if you have or have had lower back pain! After sitting in the car for two days, I immediately recognised this feeling of being stuck in my lower back, and it wasn’t pleasant. It makes me worried for my back, and puts all kinds of bad thoughts in my mind. Arriving at my destination, I practiced on my mat for one hour and felt “repaired” again. Phew!
However – practicing the psoas exercises I was taught at the workshop, doing them every day for the four weeks I was away, really did the trick. I did not do them thinking of my return trip, or worrying about my back, I just did them. The great thing is, while driving back to London earlier this week, I could not believe the mobility, stability and feeling of being safe that I had in my pelvis and lower back while I was sitting there driving. I felt so grounded. There was not a single nerve telling me to watch out for a possible feeling of tightness here or there! And what are the implications of this? Well, for me, it makes me HAPPY. It gives me a feeling of trust and confidence in my body, and allows me to feel that I can move without holding back.
My sister (who also teaches yoga) sometimes quotes yoga teacher Mark Whitwell: “Do the work and see what happens”. This is what came to mind as I parked the car in the driveway a few days ago. Inspired by this quote I would like to swap one word with another and say: “Do the work and FEEL what happens”.