In one of the more intense dynamic flow classes I attended, I got distracted and was not mindful. As a result, I moved too quickly into a back bend without realizing that my body was not ready. Feeling that odd tweak on the left side of my mid back was alarming and as we transitioned into more difficult poses, the mild pain progressed. I slowed down and thankfully the pain subsided into a discomfort that was tolerable. I decided that I was not injured; it was just muscle pain and probably will go away with a good back massage.
Indeed, the massage really helped and I felt my muscles relax. However, somehow, the massage did not entirely ease the discomfort. Sharp tiny pain would suddenly shoot up my lower to mid back when I do certain backbends. It appeared that the discomfort is coming from somewhere deeper. I decided to temporarily shelf my yang-type practice and do some yin yoga for the back.
What is yin yoga? In yin yoga, passive postures, usually on the floor, are held for longer periods of time, usually three to five minutes. Rather than focusing on the muscles, yin yoga targets the deep connective tissues of the body. Indeed, yin yoga feels like a massage for the connective tissues. I love yin yoga because it provides a balance in my practice. Not only does it greatly improve my flexibility, it counteracts the effects of physcially-demanding yang-type poses. It calms my mind and soothes my soul.
With just one session of Esther’s yin yoga for the spine,that nagging discomfort on my left mid back melted and I was able to bounce back into my regular vinyasa practice.