Sunday, February 15, 2015

Let it snow, let it snow... or rain?

It's 3 pm and I have just returned inside from removing snow from my deck. After weeks of storm after storm, the layers of ice and snow are too thick to remove it all. Still as I pondered what more weight and freezing temps tonight would mean to the overall integrity of the deck, I decided I better make a move.
As I stepped out onto the deck, I was a little worried about the deck, the dogs and myself all detaching from the house and landing in the flower garden. Fortunately that didn't happen.

As I chucked each shovel load over the railing, I was thinking about my neighbour, for whom this work would definitely be physically too much. Then I was thankful for my massage on Saturday and my practice. My asana practice. I have a pretty regular practice that involves lots of low back, mid back and low abdominal strengthening. After many years as a professional climber, one who suffered from a little low back pain, I discovered how to strengthen my low back and even more crucially, my low abdominals to protect my back.

As I reach over to pick up a shovel full of snow, I draw my low belly powerfully to my back body. I hold this contraction, feeling it support my low back as I heave the snow over the railing. I have been fortunate to have been practicing this way for a pretty long time. If it is new to you, I suggest just start by doing this action in forward folds, exhaling as you fold forward, reaching to touch your toes. Practice holding this contraction as you breath in and come up. It's trickier than you may think.

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