Bikram Yoga: Upper Back

So it’s come to this…

I’ve known for a long time now that my shoulders needed to open up and that I’ve held a lot of tension in them.  I’ve also known that I’ve got a mild scoliosis in the upper back and anyone who’s hung around me for long enough will have at some point  had to dig their elbows into my back because I’m in some kind of back/neck pain and asking them to help me with pain relief.
Usually the conversation will go something like this:
Them: “Are you sure you want me to use my elbow??!!?”
Me: “Yes, I can’t feel anything otherwise.  Just dig your elbow in, right near the scapula.”
Them: “OMG, your back is as hard as a rock!”
Me: “I told you your elbow would be better.”
Them: “But I can’t get to that muscle ’cause your bone’s in the way.”
Me: “That’s not a bone… that’s my muscle…”

Yup, the cement block I call my upper back wasn’t much of a problem in my practice before because I had all sorts of other things I needed to stretch, strengthen and open up first.

However, I’ve now reached a stage in my practice where I cannot really progress my back bends any further unless my upper back opens up.

As I’ve slowly come to realise this (only in the last few months), I’ve started to push when it comes to any upper back postures and in the last week, all the things I ever felt right when I first started practicing, are all coming back with a vengeance.   The pins and needles, the cramping, the wanting to die and cry and feeling like fainting, dizziness, all that stuff is happening again and I’ve ended up sitting out so many postures because of all the dizziness and cramping that one of the teachers asked what’s wrong with me!  Funny you ask… the answer is… “A LOT!”

Don’t’ worry, I’m working on it!

So here we are, I feel like I’m at the beginning all over again.  Whatever emotions I’ve been carrying and holding onto, in my upper back and shoulders are being squeezed and loosened out and in doing so, it’s getting way ugly!  I guess it has to before it gets beautiful!

Never mind, persistence and patience will get my upper back mobile and working again.  I don’t believe I’ve had much mobility there since I was 8 or 9 years old (the last time I can actually remember doing a wheel pose without hurting).

So that will be the posture I’ll use to monitor how mobile and cooperative my upper back is.  At the moment, my upper back is so stiff that when I do a wheel, my elbows are bent and my feet angle outwards (like a duck) and I can’t really push much more than being square off the ground.  Rather than a wheel, I look like a block.
It might take me years to fix but off I go to sort that out.  Gotta start somewhere right?

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