I love to hike. This summer I am training for a 5 day off trail wilderness high traverse in the Olympic Mountains. About a week ago, I was stretching my back, doing the “plough” yoga pose and I pushed too hard. Number one rule of yoga – and life – don’t push. I felt a pop in my back, and instant pain. Four days later, the pain – centered in the left sacro-illiac joint, had subsided by 40% but was still waking me up at 4:00 a.m. It was also noticeably worse after sitting and relieved somewhat by walking. I asked one of my acupuncture teachers about it and she had this to say:
“I would walk more if walking helps because walking is a bit like chiropractic only better. (Note: Acupuncture helps too, but difficult to do on oneself.) One’s own rotations while walking are a fix for one’s particular subluxations, often. If sitting is bad, it may be sitting is enough of a stretch to the same muscles, now informing a loosened joint – so sitting re-injures the area. When we sleep, we let go of supports that after an injury, we need. So our body wakes us up to save itself from joint movements that might make things worse.” (Disclaimer: This is not medical advice! See a doctor for any severe pain that lasts more than a day or two.)
I took her advice and the next day, I went for a hike, vowing to start slow and listen carefully to my body. Within 5 minutes, I felt no pain, so I kept going to the top of Mount Si. Zero pain during and after the entire four hour hike. But when I sat at my desk again, there it was, dull, in the background, increasing the longer I sat.
Walking felt so much better that I went back two days later and did the same hike. I left the parking lot at 5:45 a.m. this morning. My only encounters on the trail were perhaps a dozen caterpillars, a few chipmunks and vast spaciousness at the top where the sun peeked out from high level clouds to reveal a vast sea of lower level clouds. On the way down, I paused at an overlook as it began to rain. The sound of one thousand raindrops simultaneously lightly striking maple leaves – a glorious spring nature symphony.
Walking in the forest, the fresh Chi of Mother Earth is drawn up through the soles of the feet, infusing the entire body with primordial energy, clearing toxic energy patterns inherited from living in the toxic electromagnetic soup of urban environments. It is one of my secrets for healthy living and I share it with you freely. On Sunday of Memorial Weekend, I saw easily 250 people on this hike. Today, I saw only one other human until the last five minutes. Go early and midweek if you can. But go! And be careful of sitting at a desk too long. Get up every once in a while, go to the window, stare at the horizon, and dream. Happy trails.