Without a doubt, one of the best practices in my life recently (both physically and mentally) has been yoga.
I haven’t done a lot of it and I’m not that good at it either, but it makes feel strong and flexible. It helps to clear my mind and allows me to focus on areas of my body (and soul) that I wouldn’t normally pay much attention to.
However, it is this focus and attention that has caused me to spend the last 3 months in almost constant pain and discomfort!
I am not really blaming yoga for this. In fact, I am really very grateful to yoga for allowing me to see issues within my own body that have needed addressing for some time.
And I’m super grateful for noticing these problems at 40 years old rather than at 80 when I might have had years of irepairable damage behind me!
This all started a few weeks before one of my first yoga sessions when I noticed an increase in noise around my neck. The best way to describe this is like my neck was on a ratchet and every time I turned my head my neck clicked repeatedly as if somebody was winding up a toy car.
It wasn’t painful and I could have easily ignored it for many years.
However, on that one night at yoga I was advised by the instructor to go and get my neck seen to asap once I had detailed my symptoms and my ‘excuse’ for a lack of movement in certain positions!
The following trip to the Osteopath started a chain of injuries that has led to me taking months away from my own training as I develop problem after problem in the tail end of 2019.
To cut a very long story some what shorter, my initial problem with my creaking neck (I felt like Klunk from Wacky Races!) was a postural problem and caused by years of laptop and iPhone use!!
Over the coming weeks I spent focused on my correct posture. I used an external laptop screen that I raised to eye level so I didn’t look down all the time.
I leave the iPhone alone as much as possible and I focus on walking with my head held high so that my neck can find its natural alignment again.
And all worked very well but……
Correcting that one problem has led to other issues. Issues such as other neck muscle problems, back/shoulder discomfort and most recently, an elbow problem!
Making that one small change to my posture has highlighted so many other problems that I was masking by carrying myself in the way I was.
OK, so at the moment all these aches and pains are very frustrating.
But can you imagine the long term damage I would have done if I had continued about my daily activities with this incorrect posture?
I am so glad I found this out now and not in 10, 20 or 40 years time!
This isn’t a blog about how you should stay of your phone and laptop (although it couldn’t hurt) but more so about making the uncomfortable changes now for the benefit of your long term health.
Whether that is a physical problem like I am currently experiencing or something like weight loss.
We all know how difficult it can be to give up all you favourite treats and luxuries to lose some weight or improve our fitness but the difficult first weeks, months or years are something we need to go through to see the long term benefits.
And the benefits go much further than just a drop in your dress size.
Losing weight will take pressure of your joints which helps to minimise the risk of arthritis as we age.
Losing weight will give us more energy, increase our sex drive, increase our confidence and reduce the chances of developing type two diabetes, high cholesterol, heart conditions and asthma (as well as 100’s of other ailments)
Take a big step forward this January and be brave. Do something difficult now for the benefit of your long term health.
I want us all to stay around longer so we can spend more time with our families, watch our grand children grow up and not be a burden to our loved ones.
Do something today that your future self will thank you for.