As someone who has suffered debilitating back pain, I know that you will try anything, spend anything and do anything to get rid of it. If you’ve never had back pain it’s hard to imagine that something so invisible could have such a profound effect on your every waking moment and greatly diminish your quality of life.
My back pain history
It was just a normal day. A builder had come to my home to do some work. He called me from the garden ‘Quick Joyce, can you just grab that end of the cement mixer for me’. The rest was history and for years I ran and reran that moment in my head and wondered why I’d actually responded to his insane request. Up until this day I taught Jane Fonda Aerobics, which was all the rage, legwarmers and all! I absolutely loved my job but sadly I never taught Aerobics again. Instead, I spent 2 years lying on my back seeing acupuncturists and osteopaths using every penny I had. I literally tried everything I could think of. There was no internet back then and information was limited. I eventually wound up at the surgeon’s door and after much resistance, it looked like this might be the only option. He was certainly convinced it was.
The first yoga classes
I had been going to yoga classes during this time, but they just seemed to make the problem worse. I was exasperated. I had a mortgage, money was tight, I couldn’t work, and life was just miserable, plus my fitness plummeted. Kathy Hughes, who was my then yoga teacher suggested I went to see her teacher, Mary Stewart because she said she was doing some interesting work. Mary had been working closely with Vanda Scaravelli and had started teaching a new style of yoga (now known as Scaravelli) which worked on the principles of learning to breathe into the back of your lungs and also taught you how to use the power of gravity along with this breath to elongate and lengthen the spine. I tried a lesson with Mary and from day one I was hooked – the transformation had begun.
It’s not what you do – its how you do yoga
‘It’s very simple’ she said ‘it’s not what you do it’s just a question of how. For now, you must do less. You must use gravity and the breath to lengthen the spine and your spine will eventually release, it’s not a question of if, it’s a question of when.’ After 2 years of practising daily I began to get impatient. ‘Mary’ I said, ‘I’ve been doing this now for 2 years and I still have back pain.’ She then said ‘But when you came to me you needed 2 people to help you stand up and 2 people to help you lay down. See how far you’ve come. First, your body has to change, the last thing that will happen is the pain will go.’
Then the most amazing thing happened, one day someone asked me how my back was, and at that moment, I realised I no longer had back pain, I no longer even thought about it and a miracle had happened. Luckily for me, I didn’t have the surgery and still to this day 30 years later, made a full recovery.
Mary then encouraged me to take her teacher training course and this journey took me on a new journey. I now work with people all over the country suffering from mild to chronic back pain.
Joy teaches monthly workshops and private one on one lessons which can be followed up with internet Skype calls. Joy also complements her work with a powerful form of massage, laser and InterX therapy.