As luck would have it, I went from 4 classes of smooth sailing to a great big iceburg. 6am class and I’m in one of the first poses, hands to feet.
As I’m pulling (Bikram says pulling is the object of stretching) I feel a tweek in my lower left back and by tweek I mean it made me grimace and possibly grunt. It hurt. Like “oh sh*t, I just threw out my back” hurt. The thought instantly flashes through my mind that I won’t be able to finish the challenge, much less this class because I just threw out my back. I try not to panic.
My back and I have a lot of history. Bad history. I suffered from a bad back from my early thirties up until two years ago when I started Bikram. I think it resulted from lifting weights in my garage as a kid, unsupervised. Not good. This is what drove me to Bikram two years ago. Within weeks of starting Bikram my back pain subsided. I went from being in constant daily pain and being a candidate for back surgery to only experiencing occasional, very infrequent pain- often times after pushing myself too hard in yoga class but this was part of the process of healing my back.
This feels different though, this feels like the old days when I would throw my back out and be in horrible pain for a week or longer. The I need a doctor and medicine kind of pain. The I can’t get out of bed kind of pain. That hasn’t happened at all since I started Bikram. So, I press on today, having faith in the yoga. I gingerly continue through the next few postures. Luckily, the pain doesn’t stop me. After the initial jolt, the pain rapidly subsides to a manageable dull discomfort. I make it to the end of class. Hopefully I will be ok for tomorrow’s class. Hopefully I’ve dodged the iceburg!