I always learn so much from a visit to the physio. It’s fascinating observing similarities and differences between therapeutic exercises and manipulation and the practice of āsana and physical assists in class. I was back yesterday with ongoing shoulder issues which is turning into a longer story than I wanted. No boring details here, but currently we’re working on strengthening upper trapezius, so she taped the shoulder up to encourage me to lift the scapula into a more normal position; currently it lazily slumps down. It’s more about proprioception than physical bracing, so it’s subtle stuff. Or would be if the tape wasn’t hot pink. And if it wasn’t depressing me by it’s mere sticky, itchy presence.
Of course I was booked into a yoga class in the evening which I couldn’t cancel, so I had to go with my silly tape, without time to go home and get a less strappy outfit even. Unhappy look from yoga teacher and excitable questioning from fellow students. Whenever anyone asked it seemed a good moment to offer a tiny learning point about awareness of body parts, the asymmetrical build of our bodies (even though we idealise perfect evenness) and how small habits can have a big effect over time… I couldn’t resist! But I’d rather not have had any of these interactions.
Back home and googling what people say about the benefits of this treatment, I found it hilarious to read that sports people often apparently view taping as a badge of honour! Really? I kind of wish I saw it that way. It would maybe feel empowering. But for me emerging from long, long ill-health, I find that anything that reminds me of the frailty of my body really gets me down. I simply feel broken and I start to spiral into negativity about recovery times. Never mind ‘badge of honour’, I’m trying hard not feel sorry for myself. Plus I’m in pain, because although my physio cleared me for practice the original nerve pain has been put right back to square one (temporarily I hope) by her manipulation of the muscles during our session. Sore. Bleurgh.
So this rather self-indulgent post is really a note to self: the tape is not a label of weakness, it’s to help me find greater strength.
I’m trying to learn what I can from this experience, about my anatomy as well as my psychology. Fortunately I have a restorative yoga class tonight which will give me some good space where I can focus on nurturing myself rather than getting freaked out about lopsided handstanding. Plus I can practise in long sleeves and not have to worry about anyone else.