Tuesday, March 10, 2015

A gain through a pain

One of the bane of technological era is our sedentary lifestyle. Unhealthy food habits, sitting in front of a computer, TV, handling gadgets with remote or driving in air-conditioned cars for hours together in traffic snarls all have adverse effects on our body, especially the spine. It is becoming rare to find people standing tall or sitting with their lower spine touching the back of the chair with the abdominal muscles drawn in. Most of us roll our shoulders forward causing our back to hunch over. Advice of experienced elders to follow some age old healthy practices also fall on the deaf young ears. Most of us take the flexibility of our strong bones, ligaments and tendons for granted in our everyday life until something goes wrong. Like many, I too took for granted till some years ago when one fine morning my lower spine shot out a piercing pain and helped me #StartANewLife.

My present house was being built then and I used to regularly come to the site to oversee and follow the progress. Although, it was a flat, the builder was very complacent and unless we followed regularly, my house was not showing any signs of progress. Being 10 years younger then, I had lot of energy and I would walk very fast and sprint up and down the steps …two steps at a time till  i reach the 5th floor( no lift then) . Even in my old house, where I stayed in an upstairs house, I never got down or up the stairs, I would take two steps at time, this was a childhood habit and the inspiration for this sprint was my tall mama( maternal uncle) . As a teen, I would look wide eyed when he would take long strides on the staircase in my Grandpa's duplex house. Trying to copy him, I acquired the habit over time. He was tall and perhaps it suited him but the habit showed strains on my back and knees years later.

One fine morning, when I was sitting on the floor leaning against the sofa and drawing a list of the invitees for the new house, I suddenly felt a piercing pain in my lower back. I was unable to get up and I needed help to get back on my feet. In the evening, when I went to the doctor, I was put on calcium tablets, pain killer injection and was given some do’s and don’ts, all posture related. He also advised to take care of the spine and said "You are only as healthy as your spinal column is". A quote which was engraved in my mind.

  A month later, the pain settled but I decided I should bring in exercise to change my posture. That pain and awareness of a flexible body led me to a regular yoga class. Stretching, bending, twisting ,breathing all brought flexibility and strength to my body along with it as a bonus  came a sense of calm and most important of them all I learnt the art of breathing, meditation and reflecting and with rigorous practice it helps develop will power too. I sit in the seat of meditation daily and consciously inhale and exhale which brings amazing contentment and has taught me minimalism too.

Although, now-a –days, to bring a change in my exercise pattern, I do cardio and weight training, Yoga is consciously a part of my life. I feel yoga has an edge over other forms because of the rhythmic breathing pattern. The rhythm in breathing silences the mind and cuts me off from the external world. So, today if I find myself in a chaotic or confusing situation, or when things go out of control in my outer world, all I do is retract into my inner world through deep breaths. It is so easy that I don’t hesitate to do it wherever I am on the road, or at work or at home. Today, I also avoid hunching and consciously ensure that my shoulders are rolled back gently and I tuck in my core muscle. Today, for me  yoga  is a way of life and not restricted to just an hour of exercise. That excruciating pain that day morning brought about this good change in me paving way to meet my inner self and one day Yoga will help me develop will power too. 


  1. I am glad you are taking care of your health. Many people don't and regret later in life.

    1. a little exercise and "slowing down" goes a long way and is a great investment to good health, i realized pretty late but better late than never. Thank you, SG:)

  2. I can so relate to this. We are so casual about our health when we are young but glad that you made a good change at the right time! Kudos! Wish I can be a bit more disciplined towards my health too!

  3. The day i don't exercise i feel so guilty, Shilpa:) Tag along with a partner and it can be a part of your routine too.