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Thursday, December 04, 2008

Flexibility and Pain

The cold is here again. No fun. My right hip joint is becoming an ever more vocal constant companion. Sometimes it enlists my lower back to assist in its campaign. There are days when it feels like the area from my knees to the bottom of my rib cage is slowly hardening like a tree trunk, becoming more fibrous and less flexible with each passing season.

The pain itself isn’t intense, just fairly constant and most definitely tiresome. Kind of like a toothache or if something kept putting pressure on a bad bruise. Muscles tense up to protect the deteriorating joint, and the unbalanced tension puts pressure on my back. It takes conscious effort to bend and twist without messing something up.

I used to do yoga, but truthfully, it seemed that the increased range of motion I was gaining was actually allowing me to move my leg in ways that would trigger greater pain. But now everything seems to be locking up and I know that yoga would probably help if I could do it without injuring myself. I think I realize better now that yoga is dangerous when performed with a Western competitive goal oriented mindset. Maybe I could practice it more appropriately.

So my body is losing flexibility due to pain. Conversely, my spirit seems to be experiencing discomfort as a result of greater mental flexibility. The status quo is safe if nothing else. When you try to cut yourself loose from the constraints of your personal traditions, you discover a few things. Number one – you discover how deeply the roots of that thought system are engrained. It’s hard to move out of the comfort of the way you’ve always thought, even if you considered yourself an open minded person. But sometimes change happens like a subtle erosion and one day you realize that sand has washed out from under your feet while you stood there watching the waves.


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