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Focusing on Yoga for your Spine

These days I’m more busy with yoga than with running. Not with doing yoga, but with writing about yoga. The course Yoga for your Spine, for our online yoga platform La Scimmia Yoga. Yoga is the only thing that could replace running for me, when I had to stop running because of injuries.

To be honest, I’ve tried a lot of things to replace running, but I never found anything that could. Swimming is nice, but it isn’t running. No matter if I swim indoors or outdoors. Indoors, for me, is kind of boring. I’m happy to swim 1 or 1,5 kilometer, but that’s it. Outdoors is a different story. It’s more fun, because there is more to see around me. At the same time, when I’m swimming my head is most of the time in the water, so I don’t really see a lot.

Don’t get me wrong, I like swimming, but not as my main activity. More as something I do besides trail running and yoga.

Squash

I played squash for a while, when I shared a house with Fred. Or better, an old police office, which temporarily became our house. But that’s a story for later. For now, there was a squash center around the corner of the police station we lived in. Every second week we would play, as I was working day shifts one week and evening/night shifts the other week at the newspaper I was writing for.

Playing with Fred was always fun. Maybe our squash games looked more like rugby games. Both of us didn’t want to lose, because we knew the other would rub it in for the rest of the two weeks.

But fun and meditative is something different. For me running is meditation. It’s talking to a good friend, without a good friend. It’s recharging my batteries. If I run in the evening, I start being tired, with a head full of thoughts and I come back refreshed with a clear and still mind.

I’m not a biker

So no swimming, no squash. What about biking? Not my thing as well. I did some mountain biking. I like the being outside part, but my butt and private parts don’t like the sitting on the saddle part and my knees don’t like the peddling part.

Fitness isn’t my thing as well. I used to play football. Football is a social thing. You share the dressing room with your teammates, with your friends. The fitness club I went to, nobody said anything. People put on their headphones, started running on a treadmill, watched a television screen and went home.

At some point I stopped doing sports on a regular basis. I mean I did some wakeboarding in summer, went snowboarding for a week in winter, but sporting regular? No.

Yoga in a hostel

And then I found yoga. By accident. Or by accident? It was in a hostel in New Zealand, somewhere in 2008.

A Japanese girl was doing yoga in the morning in the living room. I thought it looked like something I could do while travelling. So the next morning I bought a little yoga book and started doing the poses. All of them turned out to be impossible for a piece of wood like me.

Back home I told a friend I tried yoga. She had tried it as well and asked me to go with her to a yoga school. I doubted. Back then, I thought yoga was either for hippies or for old women.

Anxiety

Yet, she kept on asking me to go with her, so she didn’t have to go alone. In the end I went and promised myself to give it at least half a year. That’s now almost 15 years ago. What convinced me at first, was how it solved my back pain. But it didn’t end with that. It helped me with anxiety, stress, digestion problems to just name a few things.

For the last 12 years I’ve been teaching yoga. I specialize in the crossovers between yoga philosophy and Western science, but I always come back to the exercises for back pain. Because I still need them. At the same time many other people need them.

Stress, sitting too many hours behind our desk, hanging on the sofa, watching television, surfing on tables, being social on social media, it all leads to back, neck and shoulder pain. That’s why I created a course for La Scimmia Yoga, named Yoga for your Spine that helps people to solve their back pain by doing yoga.

This week the course was due, so last week I worked on it from early morning until late at night. These days Sara and I are filming, and I am editing the course, which means long days behind my desk. And that means neck and shoulder pain. So I hope you’ll excuse me, because I’m stopping this story and I’m off to my yoga mat. To give some attention to my spine.

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