The shala was almost empty this morning, the aftermath of a night of people watching votes being counted? Who knows… it was good for me as I there was plenty of room for my flailing around and lots of adjustments 😀

Unfortunately, it was one of the pensioner type practices where I felt as stiff as a board; neither strong nor flexible. I’ve started getting twinges from the sacrum, just after one little baddha konasana. The old familiar nervy sensations when coming out of prasarita padatonasnana, doing the janus and jumping out of bhuja pidasana.

I contemplated just practicing to garbha pindasana, but decided that that would never get me past the baddha K issues, so went for it anyway. I had a gentle adjust and didn’t really get my head anywhere near the floor. It’s a start anyway. I just need to get my head around not wanting to have everything back at once! Typically though, I have been trying to analyse why I seem so incapable of doing baddha K? Where is the flexibility supposed to be coming from anyway and what can I do to improve it without actually doing Baddha K? I’ll go and grab Gregor Maehle’s book in a moment, I dug it out yesterday but went to sleep before actually reading it!

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A nice practice today – which was good as I didn’t manage to get up yesterday. It seems that the blackout blinds that we finally put up over the bank holiday weekend made it dark enough to sleep through my alarm. So, in my determination not to sleep in again today, I woke at 5,which is far to early, then couldn’t get back to sleep.

The shala was busy, it seems that everyone who was away over Easter has returned; nice for the energy but not so good for space and general peacefulness.

I had a practice first today, which was nice. I went into prasarita padatonasana C, and found my head on the floor. Usually A and D are head down, whereas B and C I’m just off. Maybe I’ll be able to get my hands to the floor too at some point … hahahahah NOT. Hands to floor is not a problem with adjustment, but I feel its a long way off without.

As it turns out, H wasn’t at the shala, it was D instead, so no opportunity to discuss progressing past supta K. Once I got to it, I got a full adustment, hands and ankles bound, so decided to keep going. No problems with Garbha P, then on to baddha Konasana. I had a gentle assist, which was good, and got my head down without any discomfort. I did have some slight pain coming back up (this has always been the problem) but nothing serious. I decided to stop there anyway, partly because it seemed like a good stopping point and partly as I was having a bit of a brain fart about what pose came next…. it’s been 6 months, so I fell I have an excuse 😉

During the day I have felt like there has been some shift in the sacrum and I feel a bit tender, but hopefully this will wear off over night. Mild discomfort I can deal with, but if it becomes cumulative after a few more days and becomes painful, I might just stop at Garbha P for a while…. hmm…

So, after 6 months; I *think* my practice is probably where it was when I took a two month break back in November.

After a couple of months of practicing 2 to 3 days a week, I am now up to a 4 day a week practice and my shoulder seems to be holding up ok. Practicing with an injury is probably good for you in terms of awareness, even if it is a total pain in the butt.

Other than the dreaded back bending, I think I am as strong, if not stronger than I was six months ago. I have been practicing up to Supta K for two months now, which, until last week I was doing without having my ankles crossed. But last week, it was nice and warm in the shala, I was obviously looking more flexible and H crossed my ankles without difficulty. He has done this for the rest of the week, so I suppose I can ‘do’ it again.

This leaves me with the dilemma, or whatever it is, about how/when to add the rest of primary back on. I don’t really see any reason now that I can’t just plough on through right to the end. I can’t foresee any problems doing the rest of the series, for me Supta K was always the summit, and its a downhill journey to backbends.

I do have some concerns about putting baddha konasana back in, as it was a b*stard for giving me sciatic pain in the past. Maybe not, this time around?

At the moment I am doing one ‘gym’ yoga class a week, on a Sunday. Although I was skeptical the after the first class, I am now really enjoying it. The class is an hour and a half long, slow but very strength based. We concentrate a lot on alignment; which I think also does me good. Being a gym studio, there is also the issue of practicing with mirrors….. It makes for a very different practice for me. My ashtanga practice is very ‘inward’ as I don’t wear contacts in the morning, and can’t seem more than about 10 cm from my face. I don’t get distracted by anyone else as I can’t see them properly anway. So, mirrors is fascinating, to spy on myself! It has been interesting to see how ‘off’ some of my postures can be. What feels right in my morning practice look a bit askew in reality! One thing that surprised me is how bendy my lower back looks, trikonasana and virabhidrasana are particularly bad; I really need to work on the bandhas and straightening my lumbar spine. If only the rest of my back would bend so nicely!

Right, this post is digressing into a total brain dump! Back bending. This still isn’t great. My lumbar is quite tight and doesn’t appear to be happy doing more than one back bend. I need to open my chest, but this doesn’t seem to happen when I push up, I just jam the lumbar more. I am totally paranoid about doing drop backs , for fear of hurting my shoulder again.

Right, I think this ramble may end now. Tomorrow, I suspect I will add on Garbha pindasana and maybe baddha konasana. I’ll see if I can catch H for a chat about it too.

Last week my yoga practice was disrupted by some toe-rag who stole the back wheel from my bike. Without my bike, there is no quick and easy way to get to the shala. Anyway, I found a discarded wheel around the corner from where my bike was parked (a straight swap?) and have temporarily adopted it. It seems a bit broken, but it’s getting me from A to B until I have the time to get a proper replacement sorted out.

So, progress last week was getting head to floor in Bhujapidasana, this was followed by a totally uncontrolled coming up again where my head came up and my bottom crashed to the floor – how unsightly. This week I have been able to pull myself together a bit and have been able to control the transition into bakansana. All good.

This weeks other progress is that I am jumping back again from seated. This really does feel like good progress when I consider how much of my strength I had lost when I came back to the shala after Christmas. I am still not jumping back into chatturanga in the sun salutations, but maybe soon?

I had an urdvha danhurasana adjust from D today, it was wonderful. She clamped my elbows together enough to get lift through the shoulders. The backbend felt nice until afterwards when my lower back seemed to tighten up completely, preventing me from doing a second one. Ah well, every little counts.

Next month, supta K again? After that it’s really all a home run until I’m doing full primary again…

For no explainable reason, I had a lovely practice this morning. Finally I am beginning to feel a little more like my old self. It was refreshing and has made me feel optimistic. However, I will no doubt have a rubbish practice tomorrow, having just said that.

My vinyasas felt strong, forward bends were supple, shoulder was just about holding out. Twists were ok and my spine not nagging.My head went to the floor with ease in the prasaritas and H got my hands to the floor. In the seated poses I had some great adjustments and alignment felt good. After Navasana I decided to have a go at bhujapidasana. Getting in and crossing my ankles was fine, but I didn’t bother to try and lower my head to the floor as even starting to engage the required muscles made my shoulder hurt. It’s all good though, one day at a time.

At the end of practice I was even able to push up into a decent (for me) back bend. L then helped me drop back and whilst concentrating on relaxing the shoulders, keeping the chest lifted and legs strong, even they felt OK!!

One thought that did occur to me whilst enjoying my practice was that it is great not to have piriformis pain… however, if I ever get as far as baddha konasana again, I fear it may return.

A great morning 🙂

Since I moved to my new flat, I wasn’t going to my old gym, it wasn’t open at the weekend anyway, so wasn’t much use. So, this week G and I both signed up to the local gym. It is no more expensive than my old gym, yet gives free towels, has a swimming pool and squash court and a decent sized studio. So fat I have been for a swim, to the gym and done a yoga class, which is probably more than I did at the old gym in the last year!

This morning I went to the 10.30 ‘Power Yoga’ class. It looked promising on the timetable as it is actually 90 minutes long. At the old gym, all of the classes were 45 minutes so you couldn’t even get warmed up at at yoga class. This class was quite fun, and probably a good rehabilitation class for me whilst my shoulder is still being troublesome. We started off with some pranayama, and some arm raises, cat stretches etc, the kind of ‘warm-up’ I was taught in my TT. We then did a routine of poses which which mostly involved going from hands and knees to high plank, then straight into downward do. It didn’t do much to wake up the spine, but was a nice respite for my shoulder. We then did some warrior, paravritta trikonasana, and bound arm balance combinations, then some utkatasanas going in to twists. We then hit the floor for salabasana and danhurasana, some seated twists, then a long stretch in pigeon.

I can quite honestly say that pigeon IS my nemesis, not only can I not get my bum on the floor, I can’t get my front leg anywhere near a right angle. We spent a couple of minutes in a pigeon forward bend which was very uncomfortable, the were left to do some ‘freestyle’ back bending in pigeon. I can barely even get my torso upright, so I just went for the grab the back foot option. We then wound down from there with a couple more twists, then a 2 minute savasana.

It wasn’t really a ‘power’ session but did feel like a relaxing Sunday stretch. For free (membership costs aside) it is OK, I wouldn’t go out of my way to get there, but would certainly do it again on a free Sunday morning.

It’s back to the shala again tomorrow, 1 month into my revived practice. I have been telling myself I’ll add bhujapidasana in February, so I’ll try and give that a go. One more pose at a time 🙂

It’s week 4 back at the shala for me, that makes 9 practices so far this year. It isn’t amazing, but represents progress.

I’m still only practicing up to navasana as my shoulder is still troublesome. I seem to have got over the sharp nervy pain but am faced with a dull ache most of the time which increases throughout practice. Keeping my alignment exact during the vinyasas is a must.

Jumping back in sun salutations still isn’t working for me, but I am trying to work with some gentle jump backs during seated. Where I say jump back, really what I am doing is three staged progression through the arms (bum shuffles!). The boyf did mention last night that my girl muscles were coming back?!! I think really what he meant was that my man arms are coming back! I am looking at that as a good thing though as it means that I am getting my strength back.

I am hoping to try bhujapidasana next month, but am not convinced that my shoulder is strong enough yet. I keep intending to try at home, but have forgotten to do that so far.

The biggest deal for me at the moment, and probably a good lesson in yoga and non-attachment, is not to think too much about where my practice was before the shoulder issues and where it is now. It is hard to get around the mental block I have that my shoulder isn’t going to get better, ever and I will never get past navasana. I ended up discharging myself from the NHS physio. My therapist told me that he thought I needed more regular treatment to see improvement, and the NHS is too overstretched to offer that. He said he would write a letter to my GP for a private referral and I will see if my PHC will cover it. This is a relief to some extent as I never felt that my yoga inflicted injuries were as pressing as those of the poor pensioners with broken hips etc.

Anyway, I’ll keep at the yoga, which in the past seems to have cured my various injuries after a while.