I originally began taking yoga in hopes of reducing pain caused by several injuries. Although weekly classes helped tremendously, it wasn’t until I began working with Rachel both in group sessions and individually that my pain began to subside. After only two sessions with her, I noticed a drastic difference.
I was turned on to therapeutic yoga when Rachel subbed for a class I was in. She taught the class from more of a therapeutic approach which consisted of deconstructing poses then reconstructing them to fit our bodies. One of the poses that we worked on was “downward Facing Dog”, a pose that normally aggravated my shoulder injury. At the beginning, we went in to the pose as we normally
would and just noticed how it felt. After working on the different parts of the pose, we went in to it one final time with the adjustments. For once, my shoulder did not hurt. It was after that class that I signed up for Rachel’s private sessions.
Rachel began to slowly unravel my injuries, getting down to where we really needed to focus. We began to do some exercises that targeted specific parts of the body. For me, they were my shoulder blades and hip joint. The movements were so miniscule that I felt like I wasn’t doing anything at all.
After each session, I was given “homework” to do. The homework was a list of exercises, ones we had done in the session, described beautifully so that I really got a clear picture of what to do. Usually, the day after the session I could feel just how much I really worked.
As the pain from my injuries began to subside, my life outside of yoga as well as my practice became much more enjoyable. During class, I was able to focus inward and listen to what my body was telling me. If my mind even questioned whether or not something felt right, I would back out and find an adjustment. Being able to focus on my practice and not panic over whether or not a pose was going to hurt, has completely changed what my practice means to me.
There are days where my injuries start to act up again-if only Rachel could control the barometric pressure! Instead of going straight for the Advil, Rachel has given me the tools needed for release and relief. Apart from doing my exercises regularly at home, I’m also able to do some at my desk at work. Specifically, when my shoulder tends to act up because of repetitive activity, I know which exercises to focus on depending on where it hurts or where I need to release.
The therapeutic work that Rachel does challenges the mind to re-learn which muscles to use in order to stabilize and help an injury instead of compensating for it. It’s not only incredibly interesting to learn about, it’s also extremely rewarding to know I can control my own pain through the practice of yoga. I have achieved mental relief through my yoga practice, and physical release from pain by employing the therapeutic yoga techniques Rachel has taught me.