Exercise is a Pain in the Neck

A while ago I wrote a step by step breakdown of Baby Cobra, a simple, low stress yoga posture that is both a great place to begin posture correction, and a fantastic foundation for further posture correction exercises.

I was reminded of that post this morning when I was chatting with a co-worker. Turns out his neck was sore after getting a little banged up in karate, so much so that he had to see an osteopath to get fixed up. I had to sympathize with him because I spent 12 years doing the same sort of stuff and taking the same sort of abuse that he was talking about.

Now, the vagaries of life eventually led me to give up karate, and I’m glad they did. I very much enjoyed my years of training, and the benefits I got from it, but it was one of those cases where I wanted the benefits, but I never questioned the cost. And the costs, they were many.

I have a yoga teacher who likes to say that the great tragedy of life is the time between cause and effect. Those years of hard training set up a backlash that wouldn’t show for years, and what a backlash it was. I trained hard and got good, but at the cost of wrecking my back, a hip, a shoulder, a wrist, and my knees. Damage I didn’t know about until years later. I can even remember the exact moment I popped my right wrist, in the very same spot the arthritis showed up 25 years later.

So, what does that have to do with posture correction and Baby Cobra?

Well, all those years later after the damage manifested itself I hobbled through life in near constant, low grade pain; bent over, back twisted, vulnerable to migraines. Eventually I had my “moment of clarity” and set about fixing myself:

  • I changed my exercise routine from high impact to low. From running to yoga and Pilates.
  • I learned to relieve the stresses in life that contributed to my aches and pains (especially the headaches).
  • And finally I set about fixing the damage done in my youth.

In the years since I began my spine healthy exercise routines I have seen two incredible results. First, I rarely hurt my back or neck anymore. Second, on the occasions I do get hurt, the healing process is much faster and much easier. Instead of days of pain and visits with a therapist of one sort or another, I have a hot shower and an Advil. One good night’s sleep and I wake up good to go.

One keys to fixing the damage was to learn proper spinal alignment, and how to exercise properly in order to create and maintain it. Baby Cobra is one of the foundations of that. And remember, even if you did the damage 30 years ago that you’re paying for today,

Never too late, never too old, never too bad, and never too sick to start from the scratch once again.

Bikram Choudhury