Rehabilitation of a Yogi: The Dimples of Venus and the First Noble Truth
April 12, 2011 § 4 Comments
The First Noble Truth is the truth of suffering. Having a hurt back is just not sexy. Being ill is not sexy. Why not? It’s a sign of weakness. There is a cultural prejudice against weakness and softness. Everything is supposed to be hard, toned, strong, virile, successful, together, with it, in control, and on top of everything. It’s hard to get on top of anything when your back is hurt.
How does a yoga teacher hurt her back doing yoga? In class my teaching is to look for the middle way between pushing yourself too hard and not pushing yourself hard enough. Well in that twisted lunge in class a couple of months ago I cranked it and pushed. Too hard.
My low back is inflamed, inside, low down, it hurts not with a stinging passion but a dull unfamiliar ache. Tis a pity. The dimples are delicate, tender, sweet. The pain is rooted in the sweetness, the softness, the female pelvis – created by Nature for flexibility and resilience.
What’s a girl to do? What’s a goddess to do? … (image at right: Aphrodite of Cnidus)
Turn to Google of course.
My back has been hurting for weeks and it only took an hour with Google to determine the proper terminology for my malady. A heady relief washed over me when I read the words on the screen. It meant I’m not alone. Not alone in this pain, in this condition, in this confusion, in this annoyance, in this predicament.
The ailment, slightly more common in women than men, is called the Sacroiliac Joint (SI) Joint Discomfort. We have two of these joints, one on either side of the sacrum (lowest part of the spine), where the pelvis connects in the back. From the outside these are what’s known as back dimples or Dimples of Venus.
The SI joint connects the sacrum with the ilium of the pelvis. And it seems that this joint has taken over my life. Ever since that twisting lunge when I pushed hard and felt a pop on the right side there’s been a rainbow of sensations, a colorful spectrum from mild discomfort to outright pain. At first I ignored it. Then I ignored it some more. Then I felt really sorry for myself. Then I felt angry at myself for feeling sorry for myself. Then I did some research. Then I felt shitty some more. Then I commiserated with Mom about it. Until finally I knew I had to do something.
What was necessary? Acceptance. I had to accept the fact that there was something weak, something imperfect about my body, my SI joint, my Venus dimple… she would not be ignored. After that it was easy to kiss self-doubt good-bye.
I accept the back pain. I return to the awareness of my back. Mindful awareness of sensation. Mindful awareness of Sacroiliac joint discomfort.
Discomfort is exactly what it feels like, as if the bones are not lined up properly. Some mornings I wake up with my right quad on fire, sore like I’d run a marathon on one leg. Acceptance allows me to roll out my yoga mat and flow slowly through a routine, a movement meditation with body as the object.
Healing is a project in mindfulness. I keep expecting a quick fix, but all I find are long-term practical solutions. Inflamed butt dimples…. Oh Buddha help me!
Gentle yoga exercises which may be useful to anyone suffering from back pain can be found in the Rehab of a Yogi Supplement: Tools to Ease Sacroiliac Joint Discomfort.
Rehabilitation of a Yogi is the story of a personal quest to find contentment with reality and embrace self care.