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Can we just take a second to consider how incredible the body is? I never really gave it much thought until I came down with Lyme disease that went undiagnosed for a solid eight or nine months and by that time I was barely able to walk. There was a point where I thought I'd never be able to walk again (and subsequently sold all my gorgeous heels for dirt cheap on eBay - huge mistake). Anyway, it took a while, but when I was finally back in the business of walking, I vowed never to forget just how far my body had come, and it's pretty much always at the forefront of my mind these days as I continue to heal from the meds that healed me from Lyme Disease but tore my stomach apart in the process.
But you don't need to have some shit storm of a disease blow up your joints and leave you down and out to appreciate how amazing our bodies are. Just take a look at your yoga practice if you need a bit of inspiration.
A lot of people get frustrated when they're first starting out. They put themselves down and declare themselves "not flexible." You know what I say to that?
We all have to start somewhere. And in the yoga practice we're all starting out tight and relatively inflexible. Side note: here's something else I have to say to my students.
The back is one of the places I've noticed the most growth in my practice over the last few years, particularly since I've been working on scorpion pose in the forearm stand position. In teacher training, I learned that the low back is where we have the most flexibility right off the bat. In the upper part of the spine - the thoracic spine - we have less mobility and it takes a bit to develop, and in the very top of the spine - the cervical spine - we have less mobility as well. I think this is illustrated really well in the pictures above.
In the far left, you'll see that I've got quite a bit of mobility in the low back. Unfortunately, that's no good because the shape is sort of like an L which means I'm compressing the low back and that's a recipe for injury if I don't work on the flexibility of the rest of the spine. If this is where you're at, really try working on opening the chest and shoulders to start finding some movement in the thoracic spine.
In the second picture, you can see the thoracic spine has made quite the improvement in flexibility. Now the shape is more like a U and less like an L, so that's great. But the hips aren't in line with the shoulders, which means I don't have much stability here. If I can get a bit of flexibility in the very top of the spine, that may help. If this is the stage you're at, look to build more openness in the chest and more upper body strength.
In the last picture, you can see the hips are in line with the shoulders, and my gaze is more out in front which means my neck has a bit more mobility than the last picture, where my gaze was mostly down.
Is this pose perfect? No. I can hold this for maybe a few seconds just due to lack of strength I think. But the point is that practice makes progress, the first step is the most important, and the beginner stage the most beautiful because when you look back, you can truly see just how far you've come and how magic the body really is.
Let's talk: What are you currently working on in your practice? Bonus points if you want to add to the spirit of the community by posting your current progress pic here in the comments or if you'd rather not share with the entire interwebs, over on the YBC Official App (we have this cool instagram-like feature).
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