I left Montreal a year and a half ago, a city that introduced me to many people, different cultures and numerous activities… and of course, Ashtanga yoga. I worried about a lot of things when I decided to leave, but never about finding an Ashtanga yoga studio. After months of searching, I finally found a yoga center that offered Ashtanga classes daily. Not many people would come to the 8pm ashtanga class. In fact, I was the only one attending 99% of the time. The founder of the center and I agreed on an Energy Exchange program, because classes were ridiculously over priced and I have other expenses to cover with what I make monthly. Besides, I knew the primary sequence and all I wanted was a healthy space to practice in. Unfortunately, that agreement came to an end, 6 weeks ago.
Shortly after being shocked with the news, I decided to go to an Ashtanga class in another studio that I occasionally went to. It was a beginner’s class, but I went with the flow and embraced the opportunity to go back to the basics. Something went wrong, and I still can’t put my finger on it. I hurt my lower back. I rushed home after practice to massage it with some Tiger Balm, hoping that the pain would go away the next morning. It did not, so I decided to rest for the day. After going through a very painful 8 days, I decided to see the doctor. I’m not a big fan of hospitals and visiting doctors, probably because I’m never mentally prepared to hear bad news. After a few questions and x-rays, I was informed that I had a slipped disc. BOOM! “End of Ashtanga for me” is what I thought, but I still had hope because I was told to go for an MRI. After 2 weeks of patiently waiting for my MRI appointment, the report stated that I don’t have a slipped disc. So, the doctor confirmed it is a muscle strain.
After weeks of taking painkillers, anti inflammatory pills and going to 4 physiotherapy sessions, I felt better and decided to go back to the Wednesday class that I usually go to at the yoga center I occasionally went to. I was so happy to see the teacher and so excited to get back on the mat and flow. Everything was perfect – the room, the energy, the teacher, the intentions, even the postures! It probably was one of my best practices… until savasana. I couldn’t move anymore. This happened a few days ago. My teacher confirmed it was nothing to worry about, but something I should be very careful about.. the pain I was experiencing and the inability to move were the result of muscle spasms in the lower back.
So I laid off the practice for a few days until I went to my last physiotherapy session. The therapist upped the vibrations that were supposed to relax the muscle and told me that I will be fine from now on. That’s when I realized only one thing needs to be done now: go to Bikram yoga.
I’ve tried a few different styles in the 2 years that I have been practicing yoga, and no style has had the magical effect that Ashtanga has on me. I’ve also suffered from a fair share of injuries that caused me to hit the pause button a few times. Practicing in a hot room, hot yoga or Bikram yoga, before getting back into the Ashtanga ritual always helped.
Bikram yoga, you will forever be the hospital I will always want to go to. Your heated room is the best pain killer and anti-inflammatory pill for my muscles, joints and ligaments, and a lot of your teachers are the best doctors that I can trust. But Ashtanga will always be the remedy – what my body, mind and soul need and crave.