Oh F*ck My Back! A Journey Through a Yoga Injury
While yoga is a healing activity that opens your mind, body, and spirit like spiritual LSD, you can also sometimes injure yourself. It is not the yoga’s fault.
In fact, even thinking about blaming the yoga is very un-yogi of me. It just happens. Every yogi I know has had a yoga-induced injury.
I recently experienced one of the worst yoga injuries of my life. I went to a Kundalini class one particular Saturday morning when I just wasn’t in the mental state to get to the bottom of my self-loathing and inner rage.
As soon as I left the class, I knew my back was screwed.
I was like, “Fuck! Who am I kidding? I am white! I am not supposed to face my emotions, but repress them deep inside my body until I eventually die of a heart attack. That is the American way!”
Injuries as Messages from Our Higher Selves
I know a normal person would have taken Advil to lessen the spasms, but I haven’t taken one of those since I swore off the white man’s medicine nine years ago.
In my esoteric worldview, there is always a spiritual or emotional component to injuries. I believe our higher selves communicate to our egos through the language of the body.
The discomfort in our physical bodies serves as a mouthpiece to get the attention of our ego and address fundamental concerns. I have never seen an injury as just that, but rather an opportunity to explore my inner consciousness and deal with the underlying problems of my psyche.
So I did what any normal yogi would have done: I had someone practice energy work on me. My hippy healer friend placed her hands near my actual body, and closed her eyes as she tapped into the vibrations of the cosmos. Or she was taking a nap—sometimes it is hard to tell the difference.
Hippy Healer Friend: “I am getting a message that part of your back pain has to do with your daughter—there is some bad energy to address?”
Pain as a Sign of a Problematic Relationship Dynamic
Not sure if you’ve ever tried to peacefully receive a healing while at the same time stressing out about what your healer thought of you. Let me tell you though: it is not as relaxing as it sounds.
I wasn’t exactly sure that my pain had to do with my kid, and was more convinced it was a philosophic quandary regarding the futility of existence.
You know, this relentless knowing that no matter what life path I choose, it will be fraught with the patterns that oppress me today, and I will continually making the same mistakes while I swirl in a spiral of mediocrity. The normal stuff!
Nevertheless, I decided to investigate the Hippy Healer chick’s “messages” and ask my kid directly what she thought of our relationship. I explained to my 4-year old how my friend thought my back pain was emotional, that it had something to do with our dynamic.
My daughter: “Mamma, I just think your back hurts because you do too much yoga.”
Epsom Salts and Good Intentions
Okay, fine. Seemed like things with my kid were okay—but what was the pain about?
I took a bath with Epsom salts and baking soda while listening to chakra chants. The spasm persisted. I did a three-hour meditation and visualization exercise. The spasms held on. I had an acupuncturist come and cup the back of my knees while torturing me with needles. Still, spasms.
I saw a light worker/chiropractor who adjusted my pelvis with subtle tools and positive intentions. More spasm. I had a massage therapist rub me while doing Reiki. Spasms continued.
I sat in silence to dissect the truths of my life while adorning myself in crystals from Himalayan sacred caves blessed by virgins.
The acupuncture lady came back to smoke my ass—and yes, this is what it sounds like. She lit sticks on fire (Moxa) and held the burning embers millimeters from my back.
As she left, she told me to put heat on my scalding hot skin for another hour. At this point, it didn’t matter if the first three layers of my human casing had been singed off like a sausage.
Planets, Moons, and Stars
I lay on the floor feeling infinitely sorry for myself when my friend Grace came over to check on me.
Grace: “How are you doing? What is that cooking smell? Is that flesh?”
Me: “It doesn’t matter.”
Grace: “Did you get my email about the new moon in Scorpio? You know it is a great time for transformation and addressing past life pain. Maybe we should have a manifestation ceremony where we—”
Me: There is always something going on with the stars! Mercury is in retrograde every goddamn day! There is always a super moon conjunct with Mars hovering over Jupiter trine Pluto. If you want to help—find me some fucking Valium!”
After my tantrum, I got up off the floor, and actually felt pretty good.
Honestly, I did reflect on really important aspects of life during that week of pain. I actually learned a lot from the forced stillness.
Also, because I couldn’t move, I spent ample uninterrupted time with my daughter. She had my undivided attention in a way I haven’t given her in years because we are always going somewhere or doing something. We got to bond and just be with each other with no distractions.
Though yoga injuries are never easy, there’s always a hidden gem of guidance underneath the pain—you just have to uncover it. Maybe my Hippy Healer friend had a point?
Slowing down was pivotal because my kid lives on a different frequency, and sometimes she just needs to chill with me. Oh, and by the way, I did spend the new moon writing down intentions and painting manifestations.