That, my friends, is a yoga wall. You know, one of these (except mine is being constructed rather differently):
|Photo courtesy of Winnipeg Fitness Explorer|
Scott is constructing the wall as we speak. (Don't worry. He's very carpenterish when it comes to building things. He's made houses.) It's a fairly low-risk proposition because, even if we don't like what we come up with, they're tearing down this room in 6 months. So we can learn from this proof-of-concept go-round and apply any lessons learned to the new set up, once the reno is complete. I know I'm sounding so chill. In truth, one of the eyelets just missed the centre of the stud, which likely split, and now there's a hole in the wall and I can barely stand it. No way am I repainting something I'm about to tear down. But how will I look at glaring imperfection for months?? I hang out in that room constantly (and soon literally!) I know. First-world problem. But I do wish I had people to fix everything at my whim and I'm not confident that my husband falls into that category :-) The fact is that my life is too full for me to prioritize fixing holes in walls without wanting to hurl myself from a bridge. I need to find a way to truly accept that I am unwilling to do certain things and that this doesn't require me - or behoove me - to ruminate on them with every fiber of my being. My compulsiveness is a lesson I may finally be ready to learn. I must put this side of myself behind me because it's destructive. Everything is on a trajectory of decay but it cannot be the only thing I observe.
On notification of early onset of spinal arthritis, I knew immediately that I would be wise - and happy - to hang daily to allow gravity to reset compression. I also want to ensure that my discs are enabled to replump with compression-free inversion. They are, after all, the skeleton's shock absorption system. (A headstander - though wonderful for many - doesn't accomplish this, fyi. To gain traction when inverting, you need support from above the hang, not from below.) Not to mention that I've wanted one of these walls for years - pretty well ever since I stopped venturing to my Iyengar studio. For a couple of years now, often at night, I feel a desperate need to lengthen, which I do using various props and strange methods, but nothing quite does the trick. And, if my pain is being caused by nerve compression, I've got to give those nerves a fighting chance to release as the musculature and skeleton around them extend completely.
So that's where I'm at today. Note: I cannot recommend that anyone install a hanging rope wall unless she is a) capable with construction or able to find a qualified installer and b) knowledgeable about how these ropes work in the yogic context. You do NOT want to try this at home without having had a lot of instruction in a classroom setting first or you may put yourself in danger.
For those who have emailed or commented with health-oriented suggestions - thank you so much. I have been taking highly bio-available curcumin capsules - and I drink turmeric shots as often as I can find them. I'm also starting up with the fish oil again. I did stop all supplements a while ago, in a moment of apathy, but I'm back to taking these two. Furthermore, while cutting out all potentially inflammatory foods (gluten, sugar and dairy) is really not in the cards right this minute - as I work 2 jobs for 2 weeks (1 week down!) and then segue into a, frankly, serious new role in a totally new ministry having much new responsibility and a steep learning curve - I have cut way back on foods from all 3 of these groups. I do use food and drink to manage my stress (as most people do) and I think it would be placing ridiculous additional pressure on me to instigate binary change in yet another major aspect of my life, while I settle. But I'm easing my way in. Note: I will not give up booze or dairy unless they're observably problematic, and I'm not convinced they are. Wine and cheese are too beautiful to forego without utter necessity.
PS: I've been working on some very prelim neuroplastic techniques to manage pain (actually, I use many neuroplastic techniques already - I just didn't realize that's what they are). My latest method is to tell the pain that it's an illusion, a perception, and to ignore it by doing other things which use the parts of my brain that are generally associated with processing that sort of pain. It's actually somewhat effective. So far, I haven't stopped feeling the pain but now I can separate the sensation from my consciousness' interpretation of it. BTW - what's an awesome way to occupy the brain (specifically the implicated visual cortex)? KNITTING. Who knew?
I cannot recommend Norman Doidge's book enough: The Brain that Changes Itself. Honestly, peeps. If regular people can recover from pervasive strokes and catastrophic mental or physical injury by utilizing parts of the brain that generally have nothing to do with those damaged areas, there is hope for everyone.