Yoga has Shamed Me

“Ok,” I said, “I’ll take 50 of these.” It was about $1 for the 50. On the back of the pills it clearly stated “FOR SALE ONLY WITH A PRESCRIPTION FROM A REGISTERED MEDICAL PRACTITIONER”.

I had no prescription. I had just gone to a random store. They sold cookies also. They sold me the 50 pills. Asked if I wanted more. They showed me prescription strength ibuprofen. I took 100. Another dollar.

I had back pain. I had stretched too far. Done something wrong in a move I had done 100 times before. But I wanted to impress. I was in India. I was sweating more, stretching more, the world-famous teacher walking around the class was looking over occasionally. I was probably the oldest person in the class and they were all twisting into pretzels. But I had to at least show I had improved over the year before.

Then my back hurt so much I could barely walk. I was ashamed. I took a couple of days off. But I didn’t want to skip anymore or show up in a weakened state, only able to do baby moves (although babies are much more flexible than me so wrong analogy).

When I got back home I googled the pills. I had three goals. Does it work as a painfkilller, is there recreational use? (why not), is it addictive, and will it kill me. I guess that’s four goals. The fourth I took for granted.

It turns out on the entire world wide web made up of over one billion people, people have a mixed opinion on this drug, tramadol. It sort of works like codeine, but it’s the opposite. Its highly addictive, but it was made to avoid addiction. It makes you feel happy, but can also cause epileptic seizures. The worst is, if you get addicted and then stop taking it you start to feel electric shocks all over you body within 12 hours.

I had originally asked for percocet but they laughed and said, “Not in India, sir.” They kept laughing. Then they sold me this. There’s no rules here.

Here’s my plan: in an hour I’m going to take one of these and then 600mg of Ibuprofen, which I also bought in pill form in the same medical store. Here’s the stupid thing about the US FDA. 600mg of Ibuprofen is 1.5x prescription strength (400mg) but you can buy 200mg anywhere. So why ever get a prescription? Just take 3 tablets.

I figured with the double-strength painkiller I can do the workout and then worry about the epileptic seizures and addiction later.

So I made several mistakes that are all too common in various areas of life:

I tried too hard when I thought people were looking. I wanted to impress instead of just working on my own practice.

I didn’t listen to my own body telling me I was stretching too far. How often do we burn ourselves out when we surpass our natural limitations. My back had been hurting me even before I had gotten to India. I think I was stressed about this blog and everytime I typed my back would hurt. That back pain decided to come out and play full force.

I have a shame factor now. I hate to go back to class weaker and unable to do certain moves but in a few hours I’m going back. I wanted to show how much I improved year over year. Now I’ve taken a step back. Normally when I feel shame, I quit. I don’t want to quit now.

Also because of the shame factor I’m going to go above and beyond trying to cure the pain.
BUT, I’m going to take it slow. I’ll probably do half of what I normally do and try to build back. I don’t want to be crazy, after all. And if it’s not perfect, it’s not perfect.

Claudia told me when I got here, “you can’t write ‘Yoga has Humiliated Me’ again. You’ve been doing it too long now.” Last year in India I wrote that article. And then I wrote a sequel in April when the teacher from India came to teach us in NYC.

Fine, Claudia. Yoga hasn’t humiliated me. Hold on one second while I take the Tramadol and the Ibuprofen. Its 2.5 hours until the class starts. I’m timing it just right according to the world wide web. Claudia tells me its the worst thing to take a painkiller before class because then your body won’t know when to stop. So I have to be careful.

Meanwhile, as the sun spreads its pink and yellow morning hues out, the Muslims from several blocks away begin to chant. Their voices rising over the houses, melodic, lyrical, singing praises of God. I like listening to them in the morning.

The other yoga students are walking to their classes. The women with baskets balanced on their heads carrying whatever are walking through the streets. In a minute the woman who cleans this house will arrive. She gets paid almost nothing per month. She doesn’t know when her birthday is. At least I know when mine is.

[see comments below for post-class addendum]

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  • Angiecroatia

    James be careful, do not get ill, we need you here!

  • http://eattheyolk.blogspot.com/ Eat the Yolk

    Oooh… painkillers + yoga. Scary, and not just for the reasons your wife mentioned! I practice Bikram, another intense form of yoga, and even eight hours after a painkiller I’d be woozy and nauseated in class. Take it easy and let us know how it goes.

  • sami

    James Please back it off about 50-75% for a few weeks. and breath.
    Back pain is a good sign that you pushed yourself too far too fast . 

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      Sami, thanks. what was interesting when I did practice today (I’m back after posting and then practice) is that I had to use my leg muscles more. The pain proved to be a valuable teacher that perhaps I was relying on my back muscles too much and not balancing enough. I forgot how much pain could be a valuable teacher. Any pain. 

      What I did to back off, during the practice, was to breathe a bit more during the poses where it was easier to breathe. So 8-9 breaths instead of the 5. 

  • rollingdancefloor

    I’m still thinking about “How to Have the FORCE.” Thanks man, it’s all too beautiful.
    Love you Bro.

  • Suresh Murthy

    I don’t understand the fascination people have with your blog. I have been reading your blog posts for the past month or so. 

    I must admit your posts are always about you and more or less self-centered. 

    Are you suggesting you are the ONLY Yogi that has run into a back problem? Does your intelligence not guide you that you consult a doctor (even a street doctor in India) prior to taking prescription and / or narcotic strength pain-killers? 

    Even my 79 year old mother that didn’t go past 7th grade (in India) has better sense into self-medication (consult a doctor before swallowing a heavy does of pain-killer).
    Signing off now, from your blog. It has been a disappointment at best!

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001825093474 Seshank Vemuri

      Suresh, He is not a Yogi, He is there with his wife who enjoys Doing Yoga, This Blog is not about Yoga. 

      James – For every suresh – there are 1000 Seshank’s, who learn and take inspiration from you. Just saying. 

      • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

        Thanks Shehank. The thing is, I love doing yoga with Claudia. Its been an amazing experience coming here. I admit I have my own cultural interpretations and perhaps misconceptions but I’m just honest about it here. And, the pain itself, I’m learning now, proved to be a valuable teacher. 

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001825093474 Seshank Vemuri

          “i am just honest about it here” 

          Thats what is missing in the world James. And thats why i am here. 

          Good wishes to you and claudia on your trip. I know you will have fun eating Idli Wada. with sambar and chutney. 

          and Dosa. 

          • Anonymous

            and eat some vindaloo and garlic naan! or is that an Americanized version of Indian food?

          • Sooz

            for some reason i can smell this como through the pores of  yogi’s..in a non ventilated room.

            my sense of smell is impeccable which would do me such a disservice if i were participating in class/practice this very moment..

            sure hope you had a spectacular B’Day,J.A..:))

        • http://connectworkmarketing.com Stephan Iscoe

          in the sense of what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger…

          • Sooz

            or overpower you..:)
            (i am so strong with slight exceptions)

      • http://twitter.com/bap Brian Paul

        Dear Suresh,

        Sometimes writing is the act of educating others, sometimes it is the act of processing your thoughts and learning about something. Perhaps this is the latter.

        I choose to think that James is somewhat introspective, although his shock-value humor and irreverence are also entertaining to me. 

        Above all though, I do not see that James as disingenuous. This authenticity (which could be self-delusion on my part: I’ve never met the man) is something I value highly and so I remain.

        Sincerely,

        • http://twitter.com/IndustryKeyword Offers considered

          The day Sureshs 79 year old granny starts her own blog I will stop reading Altuchers crap, thats for sure!

  • cowboylogic

    Dear Suresh
    You don’t understand because you can’t see what you are looking at.
    Love

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      Thanks cowboy. 

    • Suresh Murthy

      Unlike James who has admitted he was “blind”, I am not. Instead of ‘shooting the messenger’ reason it out. 

      If you admit you are a blind follower of James, that is just fine. Say it. And enjoy. 

  • edie

    “All is coming”, that’s for sure! Enjoy your practice :)

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      Thanks Edie. I was at a breakfast with some people yesterday and they all encouraged me to push through the pain but not overdo it, i.e. go to the practice and just not do what I can’t do. So that’s what I did. And it felt great by the end. 

      • Edie

        Yes, I’m learning this lesson too right now in my practice, and it’s such a fine balance between honoring your body and not giving in to pain. You’re so right, pain is a very good teacher. Surrendering to this amazing practice doesn’t always come so easy to those of us who seem to need it the most…

  • http://www.facebook.com/Mark.L.Carson Mark Carson

    As in the Daily Practice – don’t ingest drugs you don’t need. You indeed should listen to your body and stop injuring it to impress others.

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      I agree. I do not mind taking ibuprofen to reduce inflammation. However, I wanted to get through the parts of the practice that are less of a burden on my back muscles. The pain itself (since the painkillers didn’t really help at all) showed me I was perhaps not balancing enough with my leg muscles and using my back muscles TOO much. So the pain proved to be a good teacher. 

  • http://twitter.com/fzeng96 Feng

    Dude, I would not take pain medicine or yoga class if I were in your situation now. How about try to to score some good ganja, chill the fuck out, and enjoy the beautiful morning chanting instead? 

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      It actually turned out to be ok. I learned something from it and now I’m sweating and feel well-exercised to begin the day. 

      The next shame factor I have to overcome is the chanting they do. 

      • http://twitter.com/fzeng96 Feng

        They chant in yoga class?

        • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

          There’s a chanting class that happens after Claudia’s class. I like to sit outside and listen but I’m uncomfortable doing it with everyone. 

          • http://twitter.com/fzeng96 Feng

            Man, you should totally do it. That’s some super dope.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=732244537 Priscilla Paredes Wood

        Can you get a print out with the lyrics? So at least you know what to say even if you don’t understand what you’re saying at the moment.

      • http://largebandwidthcollider.com/ Joseph Rooks

        Just be okay with not doing the chanting if you don’t understand the meaning of it — not just the words, but what it’s supposed to do for you. I don’t really get it myself, but I don’t think there’s anything in Yoga that is supposed to be a performance for others.

        Silence can be its own kind of honesty, I think.

  • http://franklinchen.com/ Franklin Chen

    I’m sorry about the injury! A lot of people get injured by yoga. Recently, I wrote up some of my modest advice about staying safe: http://franklinchen.com/blog/2012/01/06-injuries-from-yoga-are-common-some-tips-on-staying-safe/ and I hope it may be a little useful.

  • http://twitter.com/PMBenfield PRISCILLA BENFIELD

    James James James…when are you going to learn,LOL? I don’t care if it is another “yoga” story…you amuse me when I need to be amused. Claudia is a patient woman.

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      She is. Putting up with all my yoga crying. 

  • Andrew_Ferri

    Altucher, that’s crazy man, illegal pain killers from India…actually that reminds me, what’s your position on marijuana?  Seems to me a joint was all you needed.  Doesn’t grass grow in India?

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      From what I hear, you can buy cannabis pills in the store also but I didn’t try. I’m not really much into marijuana (last time was about 11 years ago and that was a story unto itself). I tend to have a very addictive personality but not to substances so I figured I’d give this painkiller a try but I mostly just stuck with the ibuprofen, which is an old friend. 

  • http://www.kararane.com/ kara rane

    James-
    just an idea, you featured Yoda, you are practicing yoga, now does someone like the Dalai Lama (enlightened) or Yoda (the force) do gymnastic, ‘show-off’ poses, no. The mind is reflected in the body, relax your mind and you will find the right yoga (union) for your body.  Thanks for sharing your pain, this can be a place of learning (& stop all pain-killers, they just delay the lesson).

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      Very true. And you are very right of how that can be a point of learning. I mentioned that below a little and was just saying to Claudia I’m glad I went back to the practice today after two days off. 

  • Derek Scruggs

    Have you tried doing more core strength exercises? I’ve been doing Crossfit for the past 18 months and we do a *lot* of squats, deadlifts, box jumps, wall balls etc. Before that I did a few fitness boot camps that emphasized core as well, though not as much as Crossfit. 

    I used to have really bad low back pain but since I started doing core strength exercises I haven’t had any problems or really any pain at all.

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      I have, before I was doing yoga I was doing stuff like that with a trainer. But I decided I liked this particular type of yoga because it fit in more easily with my schedule and I really really love the philosophical aspects of it. 

      What i noticed today though was that i had to make more use of my “core” than I was previously using and I didn’t know that until now, until the pain showed me. 

  • Mike S

    Yoga has ruined more backs and it is too bad people do not realize the risk involved. Done properly and without ego Yoga can be an excellent exercise. I have heard so many stories of friends who have completely messed up their backs doing Yoga. Upward Dog – No!!! Cobra – yes.

    • http://connectworkmarketing.com Stephan Iscoe

      Mike, a little quibble :)
      “Yoga” is not the problem – it’s the incorrect teaching and practice of yoga that causes problems.
      Breathe out!
      S.

      • hamtramck houndog

        yes!

  • http://opally.blogspot.com Opal

    Stop showing off and start practicing Ahimsa.

  • Anonymous

    the things you do for love

  • Priyanka

    My two cents are -Never ever do any physical exercise in any sort of pain. Esp back pain.Let the body heal on its own. Pain killers only abate the pain, don’t actually heal.
    Yes, Yoga is  about stretching your limits. But only as much as  your body allows.Take care !

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=732244537 Priscilla Paredes Wood

    Altucher, you are an example of why I’m not going to Mysore any time soon. Between my perfectionism and stiffness they’ll be taking me out of there in a wheel chair.

    I have to agree that blogging can be stressful sometimes so why don’t you take a break from writing? I’m sure we’ll all forgive you, disconnect from the world Altucher and breathe.

    Get well soon.

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      Its a good point. I have to figure out why blogging has been stressful to me lately. That might help me understand a bit more about what I should do about it. 

      • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

        Btw, Mysore is great for this one thing: its all about yoga here. So thinking about the philosophy is very intense. And all of the “Students” here are teachers anywhere else (except for me) so its amazing to listen in on the discussions that happen. 

      • Anonymous

        It could be the writing itself or the comments (or responding to comments).

      • Anonymous

        Before you go looking for answers to the why of stress..with the same mind that brought you to the stressed state  … this recent talk by Deepak Chopra would be a good conversation ..    http://www.speakingtree.in/live/deepakchopra1

  • PC

    James, good posting and bad posturing. I did not know yoga was a competitive sport or I guess you’re just treating it that way! Be true to thy self, don’t take the pain killers for the class like it’s halftime at giants stadium. I’m sure those Yogis will be cool with your modified poses.

  • amy

    James,

    Pain is a teacher. Why drown it out? Take the ibuprofen and wait for it to subside. It’s your body talking to you trying to tell you something… what is it? 

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=734178852 Karl Schmieder

    James, listen to Claudia. Stop trying to show off. No one is watching you more than you watch yourself (not just in yoga class either). 
    More people are injured by yoga because it “looks” easy and because they’re trying to show off (even if just to themselves). Yoga is the new aerobics and unfortunately, most people jump in, thinking they can do it. It’s not true. It’s important to listen to your body and understand your limits
    From what I can tell, you’ve been doing it for a while and Claudia is there to help you. If your body is saying “stop” to you, listen. 
    What is the purpose of yoga? To prepare the body for meditation. It’s not to hurt yourself.

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      Karl, you are totally right about how yoga’s purpose (the physical part – the asanas) is to get the body ready for meditation. Do you do a lot of yoga? 

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=734178852 Karl Schmieder

        17 years on and off. Two-three times a week if/when I can. I can tell you they used to teach yoga very gradually.

      • Lacheraqui

        thank you, karl, for stating a truth that has long been lost in contemporary western culture! i’ve been a kriya yogi since 1985 and, as part of that discipline, practice traditional hatha yoga as a preparation for meditation — and as a foundation for good health. exploring the subtleties of the asanas, taking time between each pose to breathe, to notice the body (which responds differently every time), is the most potent part of a deeper practice…one that can make a difference for a lifetime. yoga is not a competitive sport…it is a connective gift to the body, mind and spirit.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=734178852 Karl Schmieder

    One more thing, Tramadol is awesome. It will help you forget your pain. Percocet is even better, and oxycontin is the best. But don’t even think about doing yoga (or even writing) under the influence of those because you will injure yourself.

  • Amit

    Are you effing crazy man? Yoga is not a competitive sport. You are supposed to listen to your body, not try and push it to its limits.

    Just calm down, take a deep breath and focus on doing it – as much as you reasonably can. That’s it. 

    Stop hurting yourself. 

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      Yes. I know you are right. I was foolish. And ghoulish. 

      • http://twitter.com/Gypsymtnkat Katherine Tomsich

        And stupid to take drugs to mask the pain when you don’t know exactly what has happened.  Never listen to anyone who prefaces their remarks with ‘as a physician’, because they are probably going to sell you some Big Pharma claptrap hidden in some common knowledge and want you to be impressed that they have gone to school.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ari.m.eden Ari M. Eden

    James, funny article and I commend you for giving max effort, but don’t do anything too crazy when it comes to those pills.  If you have to take some time off, so be it.  No need to impress anyone.  It’s your own personal journey in many ways.  I’ve heard those pills can be great, but not worth it when you weigh the addiction issues.  On the other hand, with the low exchange rate, you may have just inspired another business idea, lol.  Hang in there and enjoy the rest of your trip.

  • Anonymous

    Why are there so many poses with feet touching the head? Gives me the woogilies. :)

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      The woman next to me today had both legs behind her neck and was lifting herslef up so only her hands were touching the ground. I really don’t understand how these people do it. Its somehow more than just exercise but real examples of mind over body. 

      • http://www.unmappedcountry.blogspot.com/ Hope

        Core, baby, core!

      • Anonymous

        The adult part of me says that is amazing. The child part of me wants to know how easy would it be to knock her over. Maybe it is your inner child turning it into a competitive sport?

      • http://Www.brookefarmer.com/ Brooke Farmer

        I used to do that when I was a little girl. I didn’t even know what yoga was. I just liked the fact that I could put my feet behind my neck and waddle around on my hands.

        At the time, I wanted to be a contortionist when I grew up.

  • Sumit

    Here’s a list of things that you can “buy” in India !!

    A drivers license- Since you  promised Claudia and never went to DMV!
    Lifetime supply of Microsoft products- pirated ofcourse!
    A college degree- did you say doctor? That’ll come at a price!!!

    And these are the things you are bringing back for free i’m sure-
    Tolerance, perspective, balance, gratitude…..

    Enjoy. Go party with Oprah!

  • http://twitter.com/DailySuicide Jscott

    James,

    You mentioned Back pain prior going to India that might have been stressed induced.  This post might be of help: http://freetheanimal.com/2011/02/tension-myositis-syndrome-tms-can-your-mind-really-heal-your-back-neck-shoulder-butt-and-leg-pain.html

    (Deals with TMS)

    • http://www.preemptiveplacebo.com Preemptive Placebo

      TMS is the answer to most back pain…. IMHO

  • http://www.howtomakeribbonflowers.com/ MakeRibbonFlowers

    Hi James

    Perhaps your search on-line for “medical knowledge” backfired to tell you that your previous suggestion that we should go on-line for our medical diagnoses may not be the best idea.

    I mean most people cant even agree in their reviews of movies or books…let alone trsuting them with out health

    I still agree with you about medical training taking too long and being too expensive….and also some of the knowledge is out-dated

      

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      Perhaps. But I bet doctors do the same googling and reach the same conclusions. I saw this first hand going from specialist to specialist with Claudia and her lyme. Basically, I need a doctor to clean out the wax in my ear. I wouldn’t trust just anyone with that. And thats about it. 

      • https://www.coldhardcode.com/ Jay Shirley

        I recently went in for a check-up, after talking about more of my medical history the doctor told me to go home and do some googling, educate myself and come back.

        I was really impressed with his approach. He said, “There are a ton of doctors who post online and talk, I want patients who can and will be knowledgeable about their own health.”

        Then I figured out why it was quick to have an appointment with him and he kept to his schedule.

        So, James, you have at least one doctor on your side ;)

  • Susananda

    Hey!
    I wouldn’t say we told you to ‘push through the pain!!’ we said go, and do what isn’t painful. It sounds like that’s what you did…. but it’s a VERY important nuance.

    Totally disagree with the person who says just stop until it heals. You’ve got to keep the area moving, gently. You just do less, go less deep, breathe more.

    As for yoga ruining backs, I’ve taught people who were told by their doctors they needed spinal surgery, who then told me yoga cured their problems and no surgery was needed. But you have to practice intelligently.

    Finally, there’s a big difference between painkillers and anti-inflammatories. I would stick to the latter (i.e. ibuprofen) and ditch the other thing. Painkillers obscure the pain; NSAIDs reduce inflammation, thus removing the source of the pain. Big difference.

    Keep going super-gently :-)
    Susan

  • http://twitter.com/raitens Rait Ojasaar

    James, you’re not alone with your pain – take a look at the recent NYT article:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/08/magazine/how-yoga-can-wreck-your-body.html?_r=2&pagewanted=all

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=678221334 Linda Maddocks

    Hey James, if it’s any comfort, I once seriously fucked with my “stomach of steel” during my first trip to India. I was heavily injured AND doing eleven practices a week (6 days Astanga and 5 days afternoon back bending). I started every morning at 4am with a redbull and 2 generic advil on an empty stomach…

  • http://www.sinocism.com/ Bill Bishop

    forget Yoga. take up Taiqi

  • Anonymous

    james,
    please take care of yourself.  always remember to just enjoy the moment.  you don’t have to impress anyone.  we are all already very impressed.
     
    as a physician, i see too many otherwise healthy patients who are crippled from back injuries.  a serious back injury can be debilitating for life.  it’s not worth it. 
     
    be present.  listen to your body.  enjoy your environment.  feel the movements & the poses.  & no matter what,  DON’T HURT YOURSELF. 

  • Lacey

    Sigh, I tried once to buy retin without a prescription in India, for you know wrinkles & they turned me down. Then they sold my friend some ketamine.

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      Claudia is going to make a post: 21 drugs you can buy in India. Should be fun. 

      • Dicky_howard

        I’ll be sending you my mailing address if you’d be so kind…

  • Dicky_howard

    They laughed at you and gave you Tramadol?  That shit sucks James.  If there are no rules there why can’t they give you percocet??  Couple of those and you’re ready to roll!

  • Michelle Feeney

    Thanks for sharing another life lesson that we forget too easily and too often…worry about yourself and not others, focus on what makes you happy and don’t conform to a self image of what you think others think is right for you, this is sometimes easier said than done. :) Feel better soon. 

  • Hamtramck Houndog

    i’m with all the rest: please take care of yourself. 
    those yoga women are made of rubber. don’t try to keep up.
    & don’t peek; they didn’t dress that way for you!!

  • http://www.howtomakeribbonflowers.com/ MakeRibbonFlowers

    In keeping with James “Daily Practise” Routine…

    http://lazyway.blogs.com/lazy_way/2005/11/my_secret_for_g.html 

  • Anonymous

    Just realized that it was your birthday! (bukowski.net confirmed it!!)

    Presenting to you as a birthday gift, these plagiarized lines:

    “Self-censorship is a lie to yourself; if you are going to be trying to
    seriously create art, to create literary art, and you decide to hold
    back, to censor yourself, then you are a fool to yourself and it would
    be better that you kept your mouth shut and did not speak. If you’re
    going to speak, the only way that you can speak is to speak your full
    mind, to offer your full vision of the world, in your work, in your art,
    and hope that that finds favour with your readers.”….. Salman Rushdie in a recent interview.

    HB James. Looking forward to more posts!

  • http://twitter.com/RajmohanCYP Raj Mohan

    James hi,

    Have been lurking for a while now. Enjoy your posts – they are uplifting, to say the least!
    Yes, Mysore is a lovely town – used to cross it every other week – my trips between my homes in Bangalore and Coonoor in the late 90s. Never knew that there was so much Yoga happening there, must be a recent phenomena.

    Have you tried visiting an ayurved pharmacy for the pain – they give medication and massages.
    There is an Arya Vaidya Sala on Noor Alisha Makan Road, KT Street, near the Chamundeswari Theatre. I recommend it. You can also look them up at http://www.ayurveda.in/find-ayurveda-in-india.html

    Am sure you enjoying the south indian food there:)

  • http://www.TheAcsMan.com/ TheAcsMan

    Many years ago, my wife had fallen ill while visiting the truly one horse town in which I was born in Hungary.

    It was a flu or cold, I just don’t recall after all of these years, but definitely not life threatening. Just lousy timing while we were in the lone flea bag hotel that town had. To this day, I swear that there was a horse in bed in the room next to ours.

    Anyway, I went to the small general store to see if I could get some aspirin or Tylenol. The person behind the counter asked what I was looking for. I told him and then he asked what symptoms she had.

    After telling her, he went and got a samll package with pills and told me to have her take these every few hours. I looked at the package details and these pills contained a narcotic, a benzodiazepine and a barbiturate, all in one tidy little pill, and each wa at a dosage thatyou would find written by a US physician (but never in combination).

    She took one and was further knocked down on her butt.

    My mistake was not loading up on pills, bringing them back to the US and standing on a street corner to re-distribute them to help fund my entrepreneurial pursuits.

  • James ben Goy

    James, it sounds to me like you are doing calisthenics masquerading as hatha yoga. If you had a proper teacher, you would never get injured because they would be giving you the instruction necessary to prevent it.  I have been practicing for 50 years and do not recall ever injuring myself doing asanas.  Of course, I have a great master teacher, Magana Baptiste, wife of Gurudev Walt Baptiste.  She is 90 years old & still teaching in San Francisco.  Come to class next time you are in the City.

  • http://www.facebook.com/kellyreid Kelly B. Reid

    humility is only learned, never taught.

  • http://exuberantbodhisattva.blogspot.com/ Erica Schmidt

    I’ve been waiting for the Mysore Practice Post with Great Anticipation.  Wonderful.  So happy that James Altucher and I have so much in common.  Ashtanga Yoga and Judy Blume.  Sometimes I get a sore back too.  My S.I. joint pops out every once in awhile.  Delicious.  I thought that drugs were not allowed.  A couple of my teachers said that
     back pain may come from lack of moula bandha.  And so I imagine creating a sense of support in my lower body as well as deep internal spaciousness inside of my pelvis.  Richard Freeman says there’s such thing as a pelvic deity down there. I am looking for it.  I think my pelvis is a little bit crooked.  But it is feeling much better these days. Glad you’re practicing with the greats, James.  Safe practice and travels and I look forward to when the twitter answers resume!  Maybe I’ll see you in Mysore next year after my self-help book hits the charts. xoxo.

  • Javed Iqbal

    Next time, in this painful situation try CAFLAM-50 by NOVARTIS (SANDOZ).
    Just 1 tab. is enough for 24 hours.  If get relief, do not take another one, until deem necessary.

    Avoid taking pain-killers on regular basis.  Many of these have severe side-effects.
    If you are Hear patient, then must consult your physician before taking any pain killer.

    Keep away from ibuprofen.

  • http://twitter.com/ThomasGBrown Tom Brown

    James on the tramadol.  Hope your careful with it the shooting electric current feeling you get from withdrawl is hell.  I take the meds for severe pain in my joints and even at the low does I’m on I tried several times to stop taking it and ended up having to go back on due to the hell of the shooting pains and the inability to focus and work. 

  • Kimber45fan

    Tramadol is the greatest invention only second to disposible diapers. After periodic back spasms that left me completely in agony, my Dr. perscribed Tramadol. So I guard those pills with great care and only use one when my back acts up. No addition, No side effects (except it keeps me up all night). A real life saver. The 3 Ibuprofens works fine except when the back is cramped. Fortuantly I haven’t had any problems for many months now – so no drugs. But it is very comforting to know I have tramadol just in case. Just sayin…

  • http://twitter.com/EntreprenKorner EntrepreneursKorner

    Suresh that is the stupidest post i’ve read so far. I do not think you get the point of the blog, Experience is worth much more than what I think you seem to be looking for? Although why would you read it for a month, if you saw from the first few posts what his writing style was like.

  • Anonymous

    If you are still in India find a homeopath .. they are all over the place …look for one who does it for free . they are not hard to find.  Your back problems will be resolved and you will get a new insight on how to frame so called medical questions and options. This gain in knowledge and experience will be of great service for the rest of your remaining journey this incarnation.

  • Kannan

    Hi James,

    Yoga is an exercise to the internal organs, not for muscle building. You just twist your body and breath in certain way, the diaphragm massages the things inside as you breath. Chant if you can but concentrating on your breath alone arrests the wandering mind. Don’t be tempted to do everything in the book, somee twisting and breathing will take care of your body and mind.

    Good luck. 

  • Sandra

    This is one of my favorite yoga videos http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qtWcb0bcA-A thought I’d share it with you in case you haven’t seen it before.

  • hernt gill

    My back had been hurting me even before I had gotten to India. I think
    I was stressed about this blog and everytime I typed my back would
    hurt. That back pain decided to come out and play full force.
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  • ander thomsan

    But I wanted to impress. I was in India. I was sweating more,
    stretching more, the world-famous teacher walking around the class was
    looking over occasionally. I was probably the oldest person in the
    class and they were all twisting into pretzels. But I had to at least
    show I had improved over the year before.
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