Student Feature: On Metta, Herniation, and Yoga for Back Care

by Danielle Finkelstein

“May you be happy, May you be healthy, May you be safe, May you live with ease”

As these words are said aloud by our teacher Deanna, we say them silently to ourselves.  We repeat these wishes of safety, well-being and happiness as we begin our class.  These words, part of Metta meditation, could not have come at a better time, as my focus in life has changed.  I've realized that in order to keep my loved ones happy and healthy, there needs to be more focus on my health and happiness.

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Approximately seven years ago, I slipped while walking down a flight of stairs, landed on my back which caused a lumbar herniation.  For years, I struggled with chronic pain, which prevented me from living a normal, pain free life.  I was in and out of physical therapy multiple times, seeing various chiropractors who tried to help me get better, but always failed.  Since my injury, I've been blessed with an amazing husband and two beautiful children, now ages three and four.  My life on the surface is complete, but living with this chronic pain has prohibited my ability to play with my children, sit or stand for long periods of time, and has caused me to be bed ridden for days causing me depression and extreme frustration.

After my last appointment with my orthopedist, I was told to try Yoga or Pilates.  I was told that either would strengthen my core and help prevent further injury and degeneration of my discs, which has worsened over time.  (That said, it's important if you have herniation to find a teacher who is specifically trained and qualified to teach Yoga for Backcare - it's a specialized type of yoga practice).

I researched online and was extremely lucky to find Deanna and her various teachers at Dhyana Yoga Arts.  After about six months of focus in Yoga for Back Care & Alignment classes, I've seen significant improvement in my mind and body.  My husband cannot believe how I've strengthened my body and become more flexible and pain-free doing normal, everyday activities.  He truly supported me in taking these classes and cannot believe my remarkable improvement.

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I quickly learned that this practice is not just about strengthening my body through various poses, but so much more.  Yoga is about listening to your mind, your body and being able to focus and listen to what your body is saying.  I know I have a long way to go in enhancing my knowledge of the Yoga practice, but I know I am on the right path towards a happier and heathier future.