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fixing old injuries in the thoracic spine

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Joined: 16 Jan 2013
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Tue Jan 22, 2013 12:26 am    Post subject: fixing old injuries in the thoracic spine Reply with quote


I had an accident 10 years ago where I fell 4 meters out of a tree. Also a neck injury 3 years ago which is now 99% fixed in part due to yang yoga
The back injury's first point of contact was my thoracic spine between about T4 and T7 which to this day is still a big problem.
I have had a full MRI scan of the entire spine two years which picked up only some small degeneration not in the mid back but between my last neck vertebrae and T12. So structurally I'm NHS sound.
Rarely need painkillers these days due to the yang yoga but the pain in the thoracic is a constant feeling.
I have been trying various yang yoga routines for two years but feel after reading Paul Grilley's book that the yin version for my connective tissues would be highly beneficial.
Before finding this website I dove into a yin practice doing too much too soon. Now reduced the practice but in sore need of some guidance.
Could anyone tell me how long ligaments and connective tissue might take
to repair before its relatively safe to stretch the area again?
I'm experimenting currently with one day on and one day off to rest.
Would it be better to practice one forward bend -caterpillar I'm doing for 3 minutes at the moment- until I can do 5 minutes in that pose before attempting another forward bend or better to do 3 forward bends at two minutes a stretch and build up the three slowly together?
Could you tell me if there is another name for the Tripod yang strengthening posture in Grilley's book as I would like to try it once seen it performed on youtube. The word tripod on youtube comes up with a different move to Grilley's book.
Forward, backward and side bending all need a lot of work.
Am working on caterpillar, spinx, push ups, to improve just forward and back bending with the idea that side bending will become easier once these have improved.
I understand that any advice given is my responsibility to use correctly.
Thanks for reading!
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Joined: 23 Sep 2006
Posts: 1076
Location: Vancouver

PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2013 1:46 am    Post subject: Working on an injured spine Reply with quote

You are on quite a journey - I hope it goes well.

You have several questions, which is always a great way to start to learn. I will refer you to several sources to help you find your answers. First - regarding frequency of practice: this has been asked before and you may want to read this thread and this one.

Since we are dealing with connective (yin) tissues, the way we treat them is quite different than when we work the (yang) tissues like the muscles. Think of the analogy of braces: if you have ever worn braces or knew someone who was wearing them - did you wear them only for one day and then take them off for a day? No, they were left on for months or even many years. Yin is a long held, static stress, unlike yang stresses which are brief and repetitive. It should be safe for you to work your back connective tissues every day - however! Pay attention: there are no universal rules - you have to find out what works for you! If you do work your spine every day and it just doesn't feel right, then do back off. It may be that your workouts are too long or too deep. Experiment with both intensity and duration until you find the right combination for you but do remember, in yin yoga - time is more important than intensity. Come to an edge, never further, back off a little bit and linger longer.

You did ask whether it was better to do one set of Caterpillar for 3 mins and slowly work up to 5 min holds: yes - longer is better as long as there is no pain. Pain is subjective but any tingling, sharp or burning sensations are not good, but dull achy sensations should be expected. Be aware, also, of pain occurring after the practice too - it may be related to how deep or how long you held the poses. It is okay to come out of the pose, rest a bit, and then go back into it: it is the cumulative time that is important. Obviously we don't come out and go back in over and over in a short time - that would be yang. But you can do two or three Caterpillars in a row of 3 minutes each.

You can find several suggested flows for the spine listed in YinSights and in our Yin Yoga Channel.

Finally, what Paul Grilley calls Tripod is also called the Wild Thing.

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Joined: 16 Jan 2013
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2013 1:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you so very much Bernie!
Will begin trying your suggestions out this week.
All the best!

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