This morning I knew I wanted to write a blog post, but I wasn’t sure on a topic. Rain canceled my plans with my dad today, so I decided to do a yoga DVD from Rodney Yee and Gaiam. Just after completing the workout, it hit me. Yoga is my topic.

The Beginning

Yoga for me began in 2009 when I visited my brother and sister-in-law in Boulder. At the time, my sis was still working on obtaining her teacher certificate. I had said that I would like to do a yoga session with her during my visit, and thus began my journey. What I loved, other than having a bonding moment with my brother’s wife, was how I felt energize and yet relaxed at the same time. I was sore for days. Proof of a great workout!

Upon returning to Indiana, I signed up for a Hatha Yoga class at my local YMCA and loved it. I loved it so much, I went on a quest for a DVD so I could practice at home. My decision was a Gaiam DVD featuring Rodney Yee. It provided me with the detailed instruction that I needed as well as two short workouts on one DVD to keep me interested.

And then I began having trouble with pain in my arms, and sort of set yoga aside. That was a mistake.

The Injury

In October of 2011 (almost a year ago), I’d begun to have a little pain in my back and didn’t think much of it until I sneezed one day. This was garage cleaning day for me. I wasn’t lifting anything. I wasn’t carrying anything. I was just standing, and I sneezed. It felt like a nuclear bomb went off in my mid-lower back. If you’ve been there, you know where this is heading. The next day I was sitting in the chiropractor’s office hearing him tell me about a disc problem. A herniated disc problem. My world came slightly crashing down around me. Okay, that’s a little dramatic. All my workouts stopped. Walking practically stopped. Sitting hut. Laying hurt. Standing hurt. I was miserable and feeling sorry for myself. Guess what? I’m an emotional eater. I gained back 20 pounds.

The Recovery

My chiropractor made a lot of money off of me over the months following my nuclear explosion, I mean herniated disc. He had me doing therapy at home on top of my regular visits. It began to hit me that many of the exercises he had me doing were yoga. Why don’t I get back into yoga? I’d heard of something called Restorative Yoga before. I didn’t know much about it, but it sounded like something that might be right for me. I was sort of right. After a bit of searching around, I located my yoga teacher from the YMCA and we began to have some one-on-one sessions following the regular class. She gave a lot of attention to my back during class to make sure I didn’t hurt myself further. So the injury was in October, and now in May I really started to feel great again. My daily pain was manageable before that, but adding in the personalized yoga instruction made the pain disappear. For the first time in months I was finally pain free.

Now I find myself wanting to dive a little further into yoga. Not just my practice, but my education, the philosophy. What exactly are the Chakras? What is the meaning behind this word Namaste. And how the heck to you pronounce all that stuff? A good friend of mine gave me a great gift for my birthday! A little book called “Yoga Chick – A Hip Guide to Everything Om”, which I am starting to read today. I think this will be a good read for me as it sounds like it is from a beginner’s perspective. She also gave me a three-pack of DVDs from Gaiam. It’s a great set with three separate 30 minute workouts: Abs, Upper Body, and Lower Body. I did the abs this morning, because that is also good for my back. I am looking forward to trying the other two DVDs over the next couple of days!

How has yoga helped you with your fitness, health, or injury rehabilitation? What are your favorite DVDs or books that you recommend?