Back Pain & Me


The following is excerpted from my Book - 'Yoga, Madness or Meditation?'


"We all encounter moments where we feel like we are being beaten and defeated, but the overall defeat comes from our minds alone. There is a Bollywood song that always plays in my head during times of despair. The song loses much of its charm away from its mother tongue – “Today’s day will soon be yesterday. Don’t look back, keep moving forward…"


"This is a mantra that has played in my head since childhood (who says TV is bad for kids?) and helped me through life in ways I could not possibly explain. Even with my back pain. I was in car accident when I was 18 and the ramifications of that has caught up with my back over the past 10 years. There are days like today when I cannot even tie my shoelaces, and one of the hardest things to do is teach physical yoga when you can barely walk yourself. It’s not just physical but emotional pain too, when you strive to inspire but so much of who you are is crumbling under chronic pain. I am in a constant battle with myself for my own sanity. I have found a way, over the years, to hide the pain when I teach (not always though), but my pain remains persistent like a shadow. A mute companion. The pain just doesn’t go away. And I have tried everything. More often than not, I leave a yoga class, or the gym feeling worse (more psychologically) than when I went in. But this has been my life. I have failed more in life than I have succeeded. But life is like a river in the law of Tao. It keeps moving forward. So what can I do? What can we do? Pain is a by-product of life. It will always exist. Today is a new day and a chance to do something meaningful. Today is a chance to live gloriously. So I can stay at home and feel sorry for myself or I can live like an instrument of nature. What other choice do we have but to live? When I was a child, my mum would tell me to be like a lion. They know nothing of depression and no doctor has stuck it in their heads that there is something wrong with them when they have a bad day. Live gloriously".


Today at the age of 41, I live a comfortable life but I am reminded daily that my back is not as robust as I would like it to be. There is a daily feeling of defeat as I lose heart at the constant reminder of pain. BUT, compared to many who have suffered with back pain for as long as I have, I am doing pretty good. I exercise daily and the combination of Kettlebells and Yoga means that I certainly have more good days than bad. Will I ever totally recover? I don't think so. I don't think there is a cure or remedy for chronic back pain. What there is, is management. Pain management. A combination of physical and breathing exercises designed to not only strengthen my body, but also strengthen my resolve


I set out a few years ago to train in a way that would allow me to play and monkey around with my new born baby one day (rather than train purely for aesthetics). That day has arrived and I am able to be the dad I always hoped I could be. When my little Zachary is a teenager I will be in my mid 50's. At that age I want us to train together. To lift weights and do yoga together. The only way I am going to achieve that is if I put in the work today. I may have been in constant pain in the past, but my future does not need to be dictated by this. I can work on myself today so my future is one where me and my son can high five each other after one of mummy's gruelling 90 minute yoga classes.


My 4-week back-pain yoga course starts 27th feb. For more information click here.


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