Yesterday I went to practice early, and arrived at the shala at just after 6. Being there early makes a real difference to the atmosphere. Not only is it still totally dark outside, but there is also a stillness that you only seem to get when everyone is at the beginning of their practices, rather that people crashing around, especially in the week when there are Nakrasanas and jumping out of asanas going on! As much as the stillness made for a lovely practice, I KNOW I just cannot sustain a 5am start daily. No, NEVER. I was at my desk just after 8am, which was also nice. By the afternoon I was pretty spaced though, it’s funny how the body clock has such a reaction to only getting up 1 hour earlier, even after a reasonable nights sleep.

At lunch time I had a massage with Susan’s masseur. The woman is delightful and the massage was great and informative and… well just, fab! The massage was deep tissue, and I was asked right at the start if I had any problems with pressure and to yell if I was ever in too much discomfort. We discussed the pain I get in baddha konasana and she angled the session at this specific issue. Interestingly, after putting all of her weight, via her elbow, into my left buttock, I felt no extreme sensations at all. Conclusion, the pain is not the piriformis. She gave me a really good working over, then did various twists and stretches with me to gauge the degree of motion and stretchiness of both my left and right legs and hips. I really liked the way she talked about what she was doing and why all the way through, rather than just getting on with it. The most painful part of the session for me was working on the left ITB, which was agony! She thinks the pain I have is related to compression in the lower spine trapping a nerve, probably sciatic, so trying to create more space between the lower vertebra is a must.

By the end of the session she concluded that there was some stiffness in my left side which was causing irritation in the glutes and hamstring inserts, but the real problem is tightness in the left QL. She thinks this is because my right hip is much more open and as a result I have a tendency to sit with my right hip open, stretching the right QL but compressing the left. Always lotussing with the left foot on top also exacerbates this as it tends you towards compressing the left side, but also the right foot on the left leg with the pressure of the left leg over the top applies pressure to the hip joint. This becomes a repeatative strain if you do this every day for years. She gave me some extra stretches to do, a bit like doing pigeon, but keeping the hips square and not extending the back leg.

Last night I continued with my Friday night re-tox sessions and went to the Bavarian Beer House to celebrate a colleague finishing his qualifying exams. It was good fun, but I wish I hadn’t drunk so much cider! Today I am in the office trying to get more work out of the way, but it’s all good. I am meeting Susan later on for a drink and a catch up, which will be fun!