Steve Reinhart had an active life as a professional dancer in his early years. He sustained a severe lower lumbar injury in his early 20’s that forced him to be more mindful of his body after spending almost a year immobilized by a corset. As he transitioned into his lifelong career, he found himself sitting behind a computer all day with chronic back pain and unable to sit up straight. Over the years he has also developed disk degeneration in his lower cervical spine that causes him chronic neck pain and has reduced his range of motion in his neck to almost zero. Up until a year ago, it was not uncommon for him to only be able to sit for 30 minutes at a time at his computer before he would have to get up and move around, stretch or even lay down. He had tried several different chairs including sitting on a yoga ball, which was miserable.
Spending many years in this condition, Steve has tried several therapies including chiropractic care, atlas therapy and acupuncture. He had tried yoga and also different gyms, which in his experience usually involved paying a bunch of money and after six weeks he would give up or lose interest.
Steve was referred to Yoga Integrated Science™ from a friend at age 67. His first class was a Pilates class, which he had never tried before. Steve describes his first experience, “When I went to the Yoga Integrated Science™, I walked into the room and something about it made me think, oh I like this! I liked the feeling and the vibration in that room. There was feeling of intimacy and a feeling of you matter. Lauren emphasized you taking charge of your own workout and not feeling that you have to measure up to any kind of standard. Just make sure that you listen to your body no matter what anyone else may be doing. The idea of ego being involved and getting taken out of the equation is something I have really enjoyed. ”
Steve continued to go back, saying, “It was so good to get back into my body again that I just started coming regularly. Part of it was hoping it worked. For first time in my life, I found myself actually going!”
After 6 weeks of yoga as therapy, Steve began to notice that even though he still had some pain, it was not as chronic as it used to be. He started taking 3 classes a week, then 4, then 5… After a year of attending regular classes, Steve now attends class 5-6 times a week. He no longer has back problems and is now able to sit up straight in his chair. “I can’t slouch anymore,” Steve said. “It’s become so natural for me to sit up straight. I do get up regularly to move a little. But now I can go through an entire day without any muscle fatigue. My body and muscle tone have changed.” Steve has also noticed a big difference in his energy levels. “I used to be dead in the water after 3pm so I would try to get all of my work done early in the day. Now I have so much energy that I have to find something to do and I have to force myself to go to bed. Yoga has had a huge impact on my energy,” Steve said.
Even with the classes, Steve was still experiencing some neck problems, so he decided to take advantage of the MAT® services offered at Yoga Integrated Science in addition to his yoga therapy classes. After his first MAT® (Muscle Activation Techniques™) session that was focused just on his neck, he noticed a remarkable ability to move his neck in ranges he hadn’t been able to before. He did a second session two weeks later that included testing of other muscles in the shoulder, upper arm and trunk. Steve describes his experience, “I was astonished that so many of my muscles were not talking to each other and were weak. Lauren worked on some big core muscles that made my eyes crossed! After that session, I sat up and for the first time, and my head felt like it was on straight. It felt light as a feather. All the pain and locking up was gone.”
Steve now has about 60% range of motion restored in his neck and continues to attend classes. “This approach to yoga, in addition to MAT® will make this stuff just disappear. Classes are now a way of life. It’s a wholeness type of lifestyle where the end result is not that you keep having to go back to get the same work done over again. There really is a light at the end of the tunnel where you can become the master of your own body again.”
Steve describes how Yoga Integrated Science™ has enabled him to become a more active participant in his life, “This may sound trite, but I can pick up a 60lb bag of soil, take it 50 yards and go back and get another three bags and do the same; and I won’t be in the chiropractor’s office the next day. I know people at my age that can’t do that anymore. To me, that’s important that I can lift and function and bend over in the garden without going to the chiropractor the next day. To know I’ve really gotten stronger, and to sit in the chair all day and at the end of the day, feel like it is 8am in the morning… I’m overjoyed to do these things again without having to worry.”
As many are coming to realize, Yoga Therapy is not just about treating the physical body. “Yoga, for me, is all about mind stuff.” Makes his way through life intellectually. For Steve, that single point of focus was a really good thing to get in touch with again. An hour a day to take a class has given him the time he needs for meditation that enables him to BE in his body and to focus on himself. Steve describes it as “Getting his mind an opportunity to take a vacation from the world”; giving him the time feel better and get more accomplished in his work.