On Monday while stooping down to survey the contents in the back of the fridge I felt the familiar dreadful spasm coming from my psoas muscles. I knew in an awful instant what this portends: 2-3 days of intense back stiffness and pain.  Indeed, I’ve been hobbling about with a pained Jack Benny expression and a gait like Groucho Marx. Oh the pain. It’s an ill will that blows nobody good; at least I am getting back to regular stretching – the type I should be doing all along to prevent this sort of nuisance.

Under my bed lies a bright blue plastic sponge-rubber folding mat, the type useful for yoga and stretching. It was quite covered in dust bunnies and dog hair so you know it’s been a long time. I wiped it down, turned on some sonorous sounds** and off we go towards harmony and healing. It feels good to stretch; I always why on earth I don’t do this regularly.

My favorite stretch consists of lying on the back and turning my bent legs port to starboard and back again. Another salubrious stretch consists of laying on the floor with my backside up against the wall, legs up so the bottoms of the feet face up towards the ceiling. Then I slowly open to make a “V” to stretch those inner thighs tight as cable cords.

This would all be serene but for Harper Hound whose decided this must be quality playtime. She hovers over me like a coach but rather than giving me words of encouragement she licks my face and forehead. It is difficult to concentrate on meditative breathing and healing etc. with a slobbering tongue going across my closed eyelids.  It’s in her job description so I can’t complain.

After a good stretch and tongue-bath I next pull out the black foam-rubber rolling cylinder. This blessed device goes under my shoulders and I slowly roll it down the back to the bum. This is not as easy as it sounds as I have to not to fall off. In theory I am staying in place going back and forth but invariably I slowly proceed down the bedroom floor although I seldom get out into the hallway. The cylinder presses on those bellicose psoas muscles that tell me they don’t appreciate being pressed so.  The point of cylinder rolling is to break up fascia knots and turn my muscles from beef jerky back to filet mignon. Fat chance of that.

I hope twith regular rolling and stretching my lower back spasms will grow discouraged and leave me. Then I must be mindful and stretch and roll regularly. Perhaps I can become limber like a lad and open legs like the splits. This sounds a bit suggestive but you get my point.



**Urs Truly has several ‘white noise’ settings which produce at the tap of an app lovely sounds of ocean waves, rain on a roof, or spring forest. My favorite is ‘Snowstorm in Chicago’ so you can imagine.