Knowing Your Limits

There have been several instances in my life where knowing my limits has been tested. I am sure that everyone has different opinions about it and everyone is entitled to their own opinion therefore I am going to give mine.

There is a fine line between pushing yourself (or letting others push you) and hurting yourself. I enjoy being pushed, I enjoy the extended stretch and the very deep massages. However there have definitely been times in my life when I have pushed it too far and I regret it the next day (and sometimes even the next week!). Looking back at most situations, I could see where the situation went wrong.

There is a difference between working hard and pain. One needs to learn that difference for themselves. It is something learned and unfortunately it has to be learned by the individual. I do not know how the other person's body actually feels, I know how mine has felt and I have experienced many types of issues which I try to empathize with but I am not in the other persons body therefore I cannot have a 100% understanding but I hope to have a 95%.

Last week, I went to yoga, the instructor asked me if it was my first time and about my past issues and my previous yoga experience. Normally I don't say all of my issues only due to the fact that I am an instructor and I know my body now and how to modify (I don't advise that for the average person and especially as an instructor, I do like to know everything. Majority of the time even if one doesn't tell me, old injuries show up in Pilates and I can normally tell something is going on anyway). However that day I felt compelled to tell the instructor about my body. I mentioned my torn disc, my scoliosis and my bulging disc and that I was overall feeling tight. He told me that everyone is tight and that my injuries were old and that it is time for me to push through them and even when I think I can't go further, go further. He said I should feel discomfort but not pain. In my case, I do not agree. Here is why...

I "injured" my back in 2005, that's when my disc tore (I heard it) and the disc bulged as a result I developed sciatic pain. In 2007, I developed a chronic pain and had to go to physical therapy from sitting at my corporate job. In 2009, I could barely walk due to a flare up from standing too much during the day. In 2011, minor flares which put me back on anti-inflammatories. Beginning of 2012, I got a massage and she irritated my L4 nerve which put my back into spasm and I couldn't walk for 2 days.

Yes, my injury is old but when looking at my history, it is recent due to the inability to walk and my chronic pain.

So the question becomes... Should I push through? I do not think I should push through to discomfort. The discomfort is a preliminary sign for me that I will have pain. Our body like to give us warning signs and that is mine. Do you know yours?

I believe you need to follow your gut feeling, if something feels off, it probably is! Never let someone force you into something you do not feel comfortable doing!