Standing Twists... What a day!
The biggies in today's practice were: Parivritta Trikonasana (Revolved Triangle), Parivritta Ardha Chandrasana (Revolved Half-Moon), and Parivritta Parsvakonasana (Revolved Extended Side Angle). I was surprised that the revolved half moon seemed easier than the unrevolved half moon...
After practice and lunch, we did some hands-on adjustments and then practice teaching of several poses and switched partners each time. That was fun because it got us working a bit out of our comfort zone. I feel so clunky right now when trying to instruct on the spot like this. Definitely need to work on my "yoga voice."
One of the most amazing things about this experience for me is how healthy my back feels. I've had years of chronic back pain and earlier this year discovered thanks to an MRI that I have a posterior "slipped" disc between L4 and L5. The practice we are doing in this teacher training is generally an advanced level practice, and yet, for the most part I am able to keep up (with modifications) AND feel good while doing so. It's just a reminder to me that this is where I belong... Not in a chair at a computer (which is really hard to accept since that's been my life for so many years). But on the mat. That's my future, and it's the best thing I can do for my body.
Did you know that the blood supply to the intervertebral discs stops around age 25? Check out this WebMD quote: "By early adulthood, the blood supply to the disk has stopped, the soft inner material has begun to harden, and the disk is less elastic." I was rather surprised to learn this - I mean really, wouldn't you think that if a part of your body has a blood supply, it would just always have it? Anyways, this simple fact explains a lot about why disc injuries can take such a long time to heal. This is the great thing about spinal twist poses in yoga. They have what B.KS. Iyengar calls a "squeeze and soak" effect that helps to squeeze out old fluids and then allow fresh fluid to flow in upon release of the twist. It doesn't have to be the fancy twists either, the simple relaxing ones have the same effect. My favorite is a nice reclined twist. Here's an article on this pose at Yoga Journal.
I probably shouldn't be surprised, but I am a little that my back is staying so healthy these days. In March, I was up to having a major "back outage" every 3 months for the previous year+ (which had been a gradual increase over a period of 5 years with the disc problem). Now, I'm on my ninth month with nothing more than a little soreness or general feeling of misalignment. It's amazing and wonderful, and I'm incredibly lucky to be recovering from this recurring injury with no medical treatment (injections, surgery, etc.).