Day 3. Ardha Matsyendrasana

Half Lord of the Fishes Pose.
I have to admit. I used to be a cranker. What I mean by that is, I used to take my elbow, arm or whatever appendage was appropriate in a twist, grab on to my leg, relax and just crank the shit out of my spine hoping for a few cracks. Yeah, it feels good to crack your back, I know I know. Fast forward some time into my practice, maybe a couple years…when all of the sudden cranking and cracking felt like shit. Every time I would twist to my left, it would feel like something was catching and sometimes it was just awkward or uncomfortable and other times it literally would take my breath away. After quite some time of just dealing with it, I found a chiropractor who explained to me what was going on.  My floating rib was actually catching on something, most likely connective tissue, fascia and my diaphragm was starting to get all wrapped up in my ribs much like saran wrap (yum!), which explained the painful inhalations and even possibly digestive issues. I wasn’t imagining this feeling. So I would get adjusted, would feel like the for about 3 days and inevitably it would slip back and there I would be–twisting and cranking in yoga and making it worse. I finally started to see a massage therapist friend of mine who does a good bit a rolfing too (if you’ve never been rolfed, find thee a rolfer like now and GO). Anyhow, she started to loosen up all that connective tissue around and between the ribs, and the whole kinetic chain that was set off. As long as I consistently see my chiropractor for spinal alignment, and my massage therapist I feel GOOD. Back to the pose. I also learned that what I’ve been doing in yoga with my twists has been detrimental to this issue of mine and I started to think about all the issues that could arise from people forcing their bodies into twists that are not yet available to them. I began to notice that nearly EVERYONE in my classes were crankers. I finally began to cue twists but having people engage uddiyana bandha and mula bandha first, rotate as much as they could with the muscles engaged and then adding the arm or hand for just a LITTLE bit more. Stop cranking people! Use those muscles and keep your back and body happy and healthy!!!