I'm ashamed of myself for this and I can't believe I didn't know better. You see, I've been struggling with severe pain in my neck, shoulder, and upper back. This terrible condition is caused by stress and pops up in my life every once in a while. In the past I've been to see different doctors and got nothing but frustrated by their lack of knowledge and ability to help me. It was me that finally figured out that stress was causing all the pain. Now that I know the cause I'm still searching for the solution.
For the past month I've been laying low and not exercising much. I'm almost in constant pain and sitting still doesn't seem to help. I stayed away from biking for weeks because I couldn't raise my neck to see the road (this is on a road bike, of course). The only exercise that I could manage was, strangely enough, kayaking. One would think this would be the hardest with a sore shoulder, but the constant movement seemed to be the only thing that helped. I felt great paddling. It was stopping that was the problem. Too bad I can't just kayak all day long.
I attempted yoga two weeks ago and it was dreadful. I could do some of the moves (like down dog) but others (like corbra and updog) sent lighten bolts of pain searing through my neck, shoulder and back. I got so frustrated and so depressed that it stressed me even more and, if anything, made me worse. All the heating pads and Ben Gay in the world didn't seem to be helping.
But today I decided that I couldn't take another day of not working out. No matter how much it hurt I was going to get some exercise in. I started the day with Tony Horton's 10 Minute Trainer. I did the Cardio one, followed by the Yoga one. It's funny how I HATED the P90X Yoga because I thought it was too long and hard, and yet I also didn't like the 10 Minute Trainer Yoga because I thought it was too short and easy. I guess I'm hard to please. Anyway, after 10 minutes of jumping around doing the Cardio I could already feel the pain subsiding in my shoulder. The natural heat of my muscles warming up immediately gave me relief. By the time I got to the yoga portion I already felt better. And this yoga session is so much easier and more gentle than my normal vinyasa routine. What a concept. I did yoga for the stretching and stress relief instead of for the pure sport and challenge of it. Today was the best I've felt in over a month. And all I can say to myself is 'DUH' . . . some yoga instructor I am. You are never too old to learn. The worst thing you can do for some injuries is NOT moving. I have to make a point to keep on keeping on, despite the pain. In the long run working through the pain (in this case) is just what I need.