How to practice Yoga when you have waist pain
Kaiut Yoga is never a substitute for any medical advice. And can only be practiced once you have the all clear from the medical professionals.
That said, once you have determined it's not anything serious, or have been given the all clear from your medical doctor then you can explore.
I've chosen the area of the body that is kind of vague in terms of pain - this is because when you experience pain, if you say it's in the waist I want to ask you -Where is it exactly?
I ask this not because I'm a doctor and I'm going to give you some diagnosis, rather the opposite. I want you to move away from any diagnosis, for the one hour of your yoga class and explore it for yourself.
And I invite you to feel what sensation is there, be precise with your descriptions, be thorough with your investigations as you explore this waist pain.
You may be tempted to say "No, not today" to getting on your mat. And you might be correct. Taking a rest could be exactly what you need. So don't read the rest of this article and take that option.
And if you are still reading, then to get on your mat could be the best gift you give yourself, to gently get on your mat and increase a little blood flow, to squeeze and release the lymphatic system, to breathe and relax, to activate the parasympathetic nervous system, that is simply said - take your awareness to this area of your body.
If you choose to rest... you can hope the waist pain will go away. You can take a pain relief pill. You can distract yourself with TV or internet, which are all okay strategies for dealing with pain, they probably won't make you any wiser, any more knowledgeable or any closer to your own body and the chance you have to witness your own healing.
In Kaiut Yoga, (provided as I said at the beginning of this article that you have your doctor's permission) you are invited to inquire into any area of pain around your waist and explore it. Meditate with it. Put your attention on it, breathe with it and watch what you can learn, dissolve and release by doing so.
With waist pain, it's an interesting part of the body as it covers the spine, the internal organs, the ribs. So that initial question - Where is it? Is the pain at the front, back or sides? Is it hot or cold pain? How big an area is the pain? Where does the pain begin and stop? Is the pain dull and solid, or pulsing? Is it like a cramp? Again again you can ask yourself these questions - not to come to any conclusions, or make a story about your pain, but rather to go into detective mode. Be curious and open and willing to learn all you can about it.
What you don't want to do is to ask is "What is it?" and then frighten yourself by trying to figure it out. That just leads to stress. And stress is the best way to sabotage your yoga practice. You do not need to know exactly what it is. Not right now, not for the purposes of your yoga. You want to become no body, no mind and have no inclination of time as you enter into the creative zone of your own inquiry.
What many students and teachers of Kaiut Yoga will tell you of their experiences, is if you stay with your pain, you can witness how it changes under the focus of your attention. Not always, not totally, but 9 times out of 10 if you sit with the waist pain it will change. If you let that area of your body be the object of your undivided attention for several minutes you may be astonished at how this pain can soften.
And remember to approach the waist pain very gently, don't go in with an attitude of "okay pain I'm going to tackle you - I'll suffer with you then I'm gonna watch you go!"
No no no... it's a dialogue that's much softer, quieter and more gentle.
"Hello pain, what have you got for me today? What can I learn from you? What sort of pain are you? I'm just going to sit here together with you for a little while and let's see what happens".
And don't expect any thing to happen.
As soon as you expect something to be different there is a demand, a push, a tightness. In that contraction, the pain has no room to move. Instead try softening, listening, surrendering, breathing and letting go.
A short series of exercises that may help your waist pain, are to take easy pose (sukhasana) which is a cross legged position - kaiut style with inside shin parallel to the top of your mat, and from that position sitting on a bolster, do a seated twists, right and left, and seated side flexion right and left. Then repeating either side. And then repeat the whole sequence without your bolster.
However it's very important to note that I'm not prescribing certain poses for a certain condition. All poses help the whole system. And your waist pain may have it's source in your ankle. As crazy as that might sound, imagine, an injured ankle caused your knee to compensate, which affected the hip. Over time, that hip went off balance and that affected your spine. Your spine tilting slightly to one side repeatedly created a muscular pain in the waist. I'm not a physiotherapist, I'm not a doctor. I'm just someone who can track alignment in my own body and have seen it in many students over the years. We can never say where the source began, or where the correction begins. So we just do our practice with a great variety and openness to learn from each new position. Then over time and with repeating, watch everything in the body and mind, your soul and spirit start to move into a more holistic flow.
If you are interested in learning more - please go to my facebook page and please LIKE @kathywhiteyoga where I do Yoga Livestreams. You may also consider joining Kathy White Yoga as a member. More details of this sequence are available as a video in the membership area of Kathy White Yoga