Hooray – I went to the shala today and had no sciatic pain – hooray hurrah. The week off did me good; probably the first week that I haven’t done ANY yoga in about 18 months. I am sure I shall pay for it tomorrow with sore hamstrings. They were feeling pretty tight at practice, unsurprising considering that I haven’t stretched them in a week.

Unfortunately, although the sciatic pain has gone (for now anyway), my knee still hurts. I can get through my poses, but it is a real problem in the finishing sequence. Getting into lotus for Urdhva Padmasana is really painful, I think because I don’t have the grounding of my left hip on the floor. I can just about tolerate it until matsyasana, but only just. I finished off by sitting in half lotus, trying to encourage outward rotation of my left hip and hence take the pressure off my knee. Has anyone any tips on useful stretches for increasing outward rotation of the hip?

What I haven’t missed over the last week is the freeeeeeezing cold train to the shala. I get on at Hammersmith, where the train starts, and usually the train has been standing with all of the doors open for about 20 minutes before it heads off. Most mornings the driver doesn’t turn on the heating, so after my 20 minute journey to the shala, I am also freeeeezing.