I sure am having an interesting yoga week. :)
After I did possibly the deepest backbend of my life, not once, but three times in a row on Sunday, you can imagine that I felt WICKED smart when I felt a sudden sharp sensation in my lower back during class on Monday. It wasn't acutely painful, but it was acute, and completely unfamiliar. It scared me! I've never had ANY form of lower back pain before. I've also been given doom-and-gloom predictions from several people about how I'm going to kill my lower back if I don't fix my backbends. But why would this be happening now?! I spent all weekend focusing on doing backbends that didn't rely on my flexy lower back. Although there was that cobra... damn... yeah... but it felt so great at the time, not forced at all! But in hindsight, maybe I was pushing my luck by doing it three times in a row? (Do not try at home, kids.)
Anways. My back was a little tweaked. And let me tell you, it got my attention!! I snapped into focus as soon as I felt that weird sensation. And it was funny, because if you'd asked me before that moment, "are you focusing?" I would have said, "yeah, sure, of course." But after I felt that tweak? My focus was magnified about 10 times. It brought me ALL the way into my body. I went through the rest of the class really cautiously, by the book, with intense focus on my spine, my stomach, and my technique.
The next day, I went into class with a little trepidation and a lot of determination. I went in like an explorer. "Ok, let's see what's going on in here today." There were no more really sharp sensations, just some soreness. I started the class feeling totally bummed out - "I can't believe I messed up my back!" And then during half moon, the thought popped into my head: "Can this be a gift?" And that idea stuck with me. There's new information coming to the surface. Take it as a gift. Study it. Use it. Learn from it. If you can't go into that usual backbend, where do you go instead? What makes the yoga protective? Where are the safety features in the postures?
This morning, my lower back was still kind of tender, but my class was great. My focus felt rock solid. Stomach, spine, and technique. Still not going into the very deepest backbend, but so what? I didn't follow my usual habits. I paid attention to the mechanics of my spine from start to finish. And after class, my teacher (who sees me in class ALL the time), said "WOW, you are looking REALLY good right now." I asked her what looked good. She said camel. I told her that I had "broken my back!" this weekend and she was totally surprised.
How about that??
Always, always learning.
And apparently (according to my on-call backbend expert!), it's fairly normal to feel weird soreness that passes really quickly after going super deep for the first time. I guess I can buy that. But I think I will also be a little more judicious the next time I venture out to the edge of my frontier...