Archive for March, 2010

After effects of a criminal Moon day practice

March 31, 2010

Mentally compelled myself to having to practice on last nights full moon, due to being out tonight. I actually wanted to practice anyway as my various bits of injured anatomy come back to health. Though I have booked a session with my therapist for next week just to be sure.

I really want to have my backbends back, so after standing and the first few seated forward bends I dipped into 2nd, pushing up into Salabhasana B I got that lovely painless click in my upper back that signals things are opening up, Dhanurasana, Ustrasana and 5 x Laghu Vajrasana. More decent Urdva Dhanurasana, my wrist only mildly objecting, reminding me. I felt open by this point and started hanging back working my way down the door, seeing how far down I could get and still stand up again. Time for proper ASIS engagement and then for the first time in weeks 3 safely landed dropbacks, the backbend is much deeper and free doing a dropback than pushingup from UD.

It was a good practice, especially outside of the shala environment with its heat and energy, it left me with a high from doing the backbends. The after effects are usually a calm contentment that is so lacking in my daily existence, but last nights practice left me feeling a little hyper which made getting to sleep a problem, tossing and turning until gone midnight, followed by a weird dream involving  the Sunday after yoga croissant folk.

Added to my Wishlist

March 30, 2010

Guruji: A Portrait of Sri K. Pattabhi Jois Through the Eyes of His Students

I found this new book via Twitter would you believe. It come out in July and contains contributions from Guruji’s students over the years including many teachers we all know.

Practice last night was done with griping guts, not a full IBS episode, I hope those days have gone, but it was a trial getting through to Supta Kurmasana, via some very disjointed asanas including only remembering Triang Mukha after I had done Janu A & B, I think my mind was in my gurgling guts. I will have to practice today, even though it’s Moon day here, I am moving Moon day to tomorrow when I go into the city for a concert.

Back to AYL today

March 28, 2010

One of those days today, I got to the station to see the train would be 2 minutes late, it proceeded to arrive 3 minutes early and then sit still for 35 minutes due to some pathetic excuse about a dodgy rail, probably the scum bag RMT tossers wanting a tea break if truth be told. This meant no chance of getting to YP in time for a decent practice (little did I know C had forgotten to change her clocks anyway!). Instead of the usually crap 36 minutes we got held up again and 45 minutes later I knew I would have to divert to AYL.

It turned out to be a good choice, Louise had it steamy hot in there, great for my intercostal, knees and wrist and much to my surprise there were still quite a few spaces in the main room at 8.20, probably cos the AYL folk are crack of dawn yogi’s, they wouldn’t forget to change their clocks would they :-) ? For the first time in nearly 3 weeks I managed 5 x A’s and 5 x B’s jumping back from forward bend without my wrist putting in any serious objections, rest of standing were ok, apart from a crappy wobbly UHP, but help arrived which was probably a good thing, otherwise we could of had one of those yoga domino effects.

Seated without a single vinyasa left out and I managed to even jump back and forth on most of them. My half a Flake Easter egg was not detrimental to my Marichyasana D binds I am glad to say and I was most of the way into Supta K before Louise came to finish me off and lift me into Titibhasana. It’s strange that was ok, but Bhujapidasana had been a bit painful, don’t get that.

Urdva Dhanurasanas that looked and felt like Urdva Dhanurasanas today, pushed up without pain and managed to walk my hands in a little, I know I still need to be careful and aware of both the Intercostal and wrist, but hopefully things are mending themselves. I only managed a couple of hang back experiments before Louise arrived to do assisted dropbacks, I had fully intended to do them on my own today, at YP it would have been expected, but as Louise was there ready to help I decided to just go with it. I think she noticed the difference since last year, going back much further on my own, walking in, rocking, then getting me back up with seemingly very little effort, this standing up thing has to be possible.

Decamped to the “Finishing Room”, where I had a nice long Savasana, in the hope of a positive text after practice about breakfast. As I walked back to the station the text arrived “save me a croissant!” Love hanging out with Yogi’s like Mel and amazed at what we can put away after practice, yoga certainly gives us an appetite, as can be seen from part of this mornings aftermath above. Think my score was 3 teas, 1 apple juice, 2 croissants and a Pain au chocolat!

The truly bad news today was that somewhere between Pret and my train home I lost my precious Yogitoes mat towel :-( It had somehow managed to slide out of my mat bag without me or anyone around me seeing, I didn’t realise until the train had departed, so too late to go back and look for it. I rang Pret just in case, but no good news there. I am online looking for a replacement, but the prices for these seem to have rocketed from the £25 I paid for mine to somewhere approaching £50. Fifty quid for a yoga mat, maybe Madge or Ms Paltrow would be prepared to pay that. I need a towel mat for Thailand, my blue one turns into a skidpan at the Shala never mind in the heat of South east Asia, anyone know where they can be bought for a reasonable price. If any AYL yogi’s passing through Euston tomorrow please look out for my orange yogitoes and if any of you pass the Lost Property as you take the side exit to AYL, maybe you could ask for me to see if any kind person handed it in. Thanks in advance

A week of being careful

March 26, 2010

Kino time is coming round so fast now, 4 weeks tomorrow in fact, I am desperate for all my rebelling bits of anatomy to be well and ready to party on my yoga mat in the Thai sunshine. I have been spending a few minutes each day in Baddha Konasana trying to get my errant right hip to release and stop pissing my right knee off. I have rubbed and exercised my Intercostal and covered it in Tiger Balm each night to keep it warm and moving and I have done crappy kneeling vinyasas to save my very painful wrist from the stress of Upward dog.

Last night I managed almost a complete Primary, just missing out the wrist weight bearing stuff Bhuja, Kukutasana, UD’s etc, but the rest of the asanas were not bad. Despite not doing Urdva Dhanurasana, especially after the painfully abortive attempt on Tuesday night, I have still contrived to spend the best part of 30 minutes each day doing backbends of various types including hang backs using my new ASIS tactic.

Tonight the end of a long week, home at 4pm and on my mat for just over an hour of criminality. After standing I decided to play in 2nd series, figuring there are less wrist annoying vinyasas and more juicy backbends in second, though pushing up into Salabhasana B was a bit over ambitious. My back felt ok after Ustrasana so I decided to risk a careful Urdva Dhanurasana, well it wasn’t as painful as Tuesday’s but still wasn’t great.  I played around with Hang backs , getting quite a way so laid out the crash landing equipment in case I went too far, I ended up doing 1 inadvertent dropback, but managed to land it ok. It made me notice that if I land a dropback not too far from my feet, that more of the weight seems to stay in  my legs and exert less stress on my wrists than pushing up off the floor into Urdva Dhanurasana.

An hour less in bed before my crack of dawn train ride on Sunday, as the UK changes the clocks to summer time, though as it pisses down outside I think its a month or 3 too early.I hope the half an Easter egg i ate today is not detrimental to my Marichyasana D

ASIS plus kneeling vinyasas

March 24, 2010

Apart from hanging dropback experiments I took Monday off to give my wrist a rest. The wrist is a lot better than a week ago, but I need to be careful still.

Last night I started off with some very careful Surya’s, kneeling my way through the upward dog, trying to get the back bend but without the strain going into my wrist and hand. After 4 I decided to just go into standing which was fine. PPC bind didn’t hurt, my UHP at home is much better than at the Shala too.

I find it hard to keep the energy and heat in practice, especially at home, vinyasas are  a big part of stopping practice grinding to a halt when there isnt the motivation of a beady eyed teacher or the shared energy of other practitioners. So I decided to do a very modified vinyasa, coming down on to my knees, between poses only, this at least kept the impetus and was enough for it to feel like a worthwhile 90 minutes. I missed out poses where weight goes into the hand like Bhujapidasana and Titibhasana as I exited a not bad Supta K.

I did some illegally delicious warm up backbends (Salabhasana, Ustrasana etc), before finding out that my wrist would majorly object to pushing up into Urdva Dhanurasana, “ooooowww”, so gave up after one and decided to spend some time delving deeper into the Anterior Superior Iliac Spine idea that Susan mentioned in her blog. And do you know what, I think she has come across something really worthwhile. Once I had googled the anatomy and found out I have them too, I started playing around with hang backs and found that by really trying to inwardly rotate my ASIS, though not sure if they actually do rotate or if its a state of mind thing, but anyway I seemed to be having a more structured backbend where the mind concentrates on the front of the body and not on the pinching in the lower back. I also noticed my left foot remained straight, ie not splaying, though the right foot did it’s own thing as ever, but it felt more comfortable. Hopefully when my wrist recovers I will be able to see how much difference it makes when trying to get all the way down to the floor, though I am still trying to get my head around the other part of the idea about nutation in the sacrum, or is that happening anyway.

Wrist – More harm than good?

March 21, 2010

I was full of hope that with a strap on my wrist  I would be able to practice “properly”, or at least to a level that would satisfy me.  Practice is so much the good, enjoyable part of my life’s journey, that even when I am injured I have to be at the Shala on a Sunday, even if I feel like sticking warning post it notes all over me for the teacher, “Beware dodgy, Intercostal, Wrist, Knee” etc etc. I carefully did my Surya’s, stepping forward and back, the pain still more in my hand than wrist. Standing were ok, the wrist doesn’t have to take part that much, I was left alone in Prasarita C and I got an assist in UHP.

Seated and all those vinyasas were another matter, I tried a couple of proper vinyasas, but realised practice would end prematurely if I carried on and probably put back my wrists recovery, so reverted to stepping. Thankfully the Shala was nice and warm, so despite not jumping I kept a nice heat building up, even managing to bind all the Marichyasanas on my own. I had to abort Bhujapidasana, but still managed a nicely deep Supta K. The Shala heat makes such a difference, the poses feel more doable, there is less resistance and more release and fluidity. A lovely adjustment in Baddha Konasana again, I stopped “trying” and just let Cary’s weight gently take my chin to the floor. She came to help in Urdva Mukha Paschimottanasana, that was the pose that broke my Intercostal 3 weeks ago and I realised I was mentally resisting trying to straighten my legs until she came behind me to support and that gave me the confidence to straighten the legs.

Urdva Dhanurasana was a bit of a trial, not having done any meaningful upward dogs in the vinyasas to open my back it was a struggle to get off the ground, but I managed my 3, walking in on the last 2 and decided that I would try dropbacks. I had been “hanging about” when Cary came over to ask how many dropbacks I had done, I told her none so far and she went away. I carried on trying, it was becoming a bit of a mental block as I didn’t trust my wrist and the sun had come out, this makes my eyes water and I found it difficult to keep the focus as I almost ended up squinting against the sun. In retrospect I should have moved up the back, but eventually nerve and gravity won the day and I did a not very good dropback, just about saving my head, but jarring the wrist painfully, leaving me sitting on my mat wincing and frantically rubbing my wrist. I have to agree with Susan’s comment later in the day that doing dropbacks was not a good idea and that I have been doing this long enough now to know when I should listen to my body and not make things worse. At this point Cary came over again to ask how many I had done, I told her about the 1 not very good one, at which point we both looked across at Susan bending over backwards holding her ankles, Cary grinned and asked me if I was going to do that, I told her probably not in her or my dreams! So back to reality for 2 assisted dropbacks, though even with a relatively cushioned landing I could still feel it. Followed by the usual 3 x half way and then another incredibly deeply assisted one, where I think I did what Mel terms a “giving birth impresssion” :-)

Maybe it would have been better to rest the wrist, but not practising would impact so negatively on my being and the week to come, I love my yoga journey, but my life journey is a slog that does not seem possible to get through without the yoga one.

Practice followed by nearly 5 hours of yoga chat over breakfast croissants and then brunch, I am so happy in my Sunday yoga environment, surrounded by nice people with good energy, chatting about a shared passion, that apart from blogging does not get a voice during the week.

My wrist has swelled up, though is not aching anything like as much as last week, I need to be careful, no kamikaze dropbacks, no toast handstands, it has 4 weeks and a few days to right itself.

Wrist assessment

March 19, 2010

On the train home last Sunday my left wrist started to ache and then swell up and it has been a problem since, though some of the discomfort has now moved down to the top of my hand. I feel like some soccer players who seem to have one injury after another. It’s weird because I didn’t get an “ouch” moment during practice. My feeling is that I subconsciously favoured the left side to protect the week before’s right side Intercostal injury, especially in Upward dogs, Bhuja, Titibhasana etc, poses you can do but be a little lopsided.

Since Sunday I have only done some limited practices, though last night I managed most of Primary, doing vinyasas that were Upward dogless, as this still sent quite a pain through my wrist. This evening I decided to bring in some backbends, not having done an Urdva Dhanurasana, let alone a dropback since Sunday, so after doing Primary as far as Janu A, I dipped into some Salabhasana A’s, Dhanurasanas, Ustrasana and Laghu V, I have to say it actually felt liberatingly good to bend over backwards. My back felt quite open, a surprise being as its been nearly a week since I did a backbend, so much so that I tried some Bridges and 2 very careful Urdva Dhanurasanas, before a bit of hanging back. This may sound silly, but it’s almost like the enforced rest has allowed my back to relax and become more open.

So I am hoping that my wrist continues to heal itself and that practice on Sunday is the joy it should be, followed by brekky and lunch with lovely yoga friends who do me as much good as my practice does.

There are 5 more Sunday’s until Kino, though the RMT seem intent on wrecking my yoga over Easter and beyond with yet more strikes, hopefully we will soon get a government who are not being held to ransom by the union’s money and dinosaurs like Bob Crow, as a character in Ice Age said, it’s time to play extinction!

Aching now

March 14, 2010

A good practice at YP with Susan this morning, the warm morning sunshine streaming in to add to the Shala’s heating. Standing were OK, I have been able to do the standing poses despite the intercostal and Susan’s PPC assist didn’t stress the injury, it just nicely stretched it out for me, much further than I have been able to stretch it on my own. Susan has a different take on my Prasarita A from Cary, who always tells me to try and get my head to the floor, I was trying to do this but I didn’t realise how much I must curve my back in trying to get my head to the floor until Susan pointed it out, I need to think about that one, what is more important head to the floor or length in the spine.

When I do the seated sequence I need to do jumping vinyasas to keep the heat, flow and energy in my practice, I decided to jump back and to step forward, this seemed to work ok until I got carried away and forgot myself and jumped back through from one of the Janu’s, intercostal immediately let me know that was a mistake! It took the wind out of me and I had to step forward and back for a few Vinyasas.

Susan was true to her blog comment and arrived for both Marichyasana C and D, thanks Susan, I really enjoyed the Mari C assist, she took me quite a way round, but it wasn’t uncomfortable. Mari D first side I can bind on my own after some squirming, but the second side I needed to have my fingers joined up, I just cant seem to reach around as far on the second side at the minute. I ended up having 2 goes at Supta K, first was OK but I wasn’t under far enough, so I decided to try again and got much deeper and crossed my feet easily enough, I didn’t dare to try and lift into Titibhasana, Bhujapidasana had been painful, I ended up jammed on my forhead unable to go either way, despite the stiffness and pain subsiding, the intercostal obviously has a way to go and I would rather it turns up for the Kino party in 5 weeks time. I was a bit wary when it came to Urdva Mukha P, as this is what caused the injury in the first place, but I was much warmer today and was trying to balance and straighten the legs when help arrived, which made the intercostal relax.

Backbends were better than expected, after a few bridge experiments I managed the 3 x UD’s and managed to walk in a little too, to deepen the bend, I  then collected my “equipment” for dropbacks. It took a while to do the first one, my hang backs didn’t seem so good, the floor had moved, well I couldn’t see it at least. But eventually I did 4 dropbacks, 2 were not bad, controlling the last milli seconds of the hang phase for that bit longer, which seems to mean landing a fraction closer to my feet and getting a nod of approval from the sidelines :-)  Then help arrived for some cross arm half ways and an assited dropback and walk in, which felt good, strong and structured. The width of my feet in dropback is another question, too wide??? But despite using 2 mats I don’t think my feet are much more than an inch or 2 wider than the standard mat and I certainly feel safer going back, though I heard Michaela comment last week that the feet need to be nearer to help with standing back up. Everyone is different and it must be to do with a persons’ height as to the width of their stance or are dropbacks really about how open the upper back is?

Urdva Dhanurasana has been playing on my mind with the injury, but surprisingly pushing up into backbend is not detrimental to the intercostal, yet other weight bearing poses like Bhujapidasana, Titibhasana or Vinyasas bring on a very sharp reminder of last week.

Rest of closing and a Caryesque back manipulation in childs pose after Sirsasana, followed by Savasana in the sunshine. It feels like my body needs coercing back out of its protective shell, the postures are kind of there but not quite back to where they can be. My body is aching now and stiff, that’s not what yoga is supposed to achieve, but as usual mentally its the glue that keeps things together.

Saturday – a full Primary at last

March 13, 2010

After morning shopping, ogling my potential new toys on Youtube and a spot of TV I got on my mat with the intention of seeing what happens, no definite goals, just an intention to practice, 2 and a bit hours later I had done a very slow full primary, even if I am still walking through the vinyasas to save Intercostal angst. First bum balances since the Intercostal went twang last Saturday, but not a bad practice at all, though the dropbacks attempts were not great.  At least I feel fit to attend the Shala tomorrow, trains permitting, they are alledged to be running. Hopefully Susan will be around for the second side of Mari D and the backbends, which are the poses my healing intercostal seem to be having the most problem with.

An hour on my mat & a new toy maybe.

March 12, 2010

Escape at 4pm, home and on my mat with a mug of tea by 4.20. Surprisingly bendy after a day of tedium in front of my office PC. I realised how much I pull on my arms when I do Padahastasana, I am trying to keep any tension away from my Intercostal, its actually quite focussing trying to relax the arms in poses where you are tempted to use leverage. Same with the Trikonasanas and Prasaritas, it was an interesting experiment. After standing I did a bit of a pick and mix of seated, Janu A & B, Mari A & C, knee and Intercostal preservation upermost in my mind.

I decided to spend the last 20 minutes or so doing backbends, the usual warm ups, then a reasonable Urdva Dhanurasana and a mini walk in, lowering down before any pain. Time for hanging back experiments which again were encouragingly deep enough to spread the crash landing equipment out and try a couple of dropbacks to the floor. 2 safe landings, though I notice I am landing further back, so I assume the bend in my upper back is probably not as deep as it was a few weeks ago. But at least it felt like a worthwhile practice.

I have been thinking about getting a new toy ever since I bought my mother a Nintendo DS, which she loves and takes everywhere. I am tempted to get one for myself, I have never owned a games console of any kind, BUT I am also extremely tempted by the new Apple I-Pad which is due this side of the Atlantic at the end of April. The games for the DS seem aimed at kids or are puzzle type games, I wonder if Apple offer a better range of “Apps”. My other reason for thinking about the Apple is wi-fi internet access on a bigger screen, I have a little Nokia which I love, but reading my e-mail on it is doing nothing good for my eyes. This is the first Apple product I have been tempted by, though I notice it doesnt have a USB port so wonder how you actualy get stuff on to it,  I have also read plenty of negative stuff about Apple products over the years. Living out here in the sticks at least means I cannot give in to my toy cravings and just buy one or other, I have to make an effort to go somewhere to purchase which allows a craving cooling off period!


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