Archive for February, 2011

Stamina for more progress

February 27, 2011

I really wanted to practice at YP today, the last Sunday before our teacher starts her maternity leave, but I thought I was never going to get there as I was met at the Station with a “Delayed” sign on the departure board. Eventually got into the city 8 minutes late, and as my practice is a bit shorter just now I figured I would go. A greeting wave from Cary as I came in.

Since last time I practiced with her I have added in Downward Dog, so she was able to give me a nice assist in my semi kinda Surya’s. Standing is not far from being back to normal, apart from still not being able to do any Upward Dogs. I can balance on my knuckles in the Trikonasana B etc, I can’t do reverse prayer in Parsvott, but the rest I can do, including today a better attempt at Prasarita Padot C, Cary pushing on my elbows instead of my dressing clad wrist.

Doing my 1/4 Vinyasa makes the practice flow more and feel more like how it should in seated, I am attempting more and only omitting Purvottanasana, Bhujapidasana & Titibhasana exit from Supta K, which is almost back I find to my great delight apart from the exit. Mari A-C all bound just and first side of D, major progress. Stamina is the biggest difference, today although I’m not jumping about like the rest of you I only had to dip into Balasana after Supta K, instead of after sets of poses. Upavistha balance is not quite straight legs as I just can’t quite pull on the wrist that much, same with Supta Konasana and the bum balances. The poses I can’t do and that feel a bit more time is required for are the ones where weight goes onto the wrists. I think my lack of Upward Dogs is hindering the backbends I am trying, today I did my little bridges and noticed someone had vacated a space by the wall, so decided to pick my mat up and try gentle hang backs and dropbacks on to the wall, so long as I am really slow going back I can kind of bounce off the wall and back up without pissing my wrist off at all. A proper drop back however still feels impossible, because I couldn’t trust the landing.

I had to put an extra layer of dressing on this morning as I had accidentally managed to knock off the scab overnight, but the extra protection allowed for my first proper Sirsasana in 6 weeks, I’m still a bit one sided, favouring the left side slightly but at least it didn’t hurt and I didn’t feel in danger of going over the top. And the reward was a wonderful back manipulation from Suyen in Balasana 🙂

I must not rush, I must not and am trying really hard to be sensible in the speed of my recovery and what passes for normality. I need to build back a lot of strength in the arm, which will not happen overnight, progress is slowly being made. Stamina and energy are slowly returning, but being back to work tomorrow I wonder if there will be any energy left to practice, last week I was asleep by 9pm every night. I will probably go for practice on alternate days to give my body recovery time. I’m certainly not as tired as this time last week.

I am glad I went to YP and gave me teacher a good luck hug as she embarks on producing the next generation of little forward bend squishers.


First week back

February 26, 2011

My last post was almost a week ago and what a very long week it’s been. I returned to the Labour Camp on Monday. The management seemed to have taken notice of the email I sent them to say I was coming back , but any shit and my GP would sign me off again. It’s been a week on the phone and filing, but this has still left me tired. I tried to practice Tuesday and Thursday evenings but my mind and body seemed to switch off as soon as I had eaten my dinner, every night I have been in bed asleep by 9pm latest, sleeping through until 7:30am, I obviously still have a way to go with my physical recovery. The surgery is doing better, though using a proper keyboard is still painful, well not so much painful as more of an ache that builds and builds and becomes too much to bear and even when I stop the ache goes on. If you saw it you would say it looks like nothing, but underneath the tissues and nerves are still trying to bind themselves back together. Probiotic recommended by Susan have helped my stomach settle down after all the IV and tablet antibiotics.

So Friday night I am home early and decided to practice before dinner, a slow hour of standing, then pick and mix seated plus some 2S backbends. It feels good to just do some practice, seems I am satisfied at a lot lower level now, maybe the antibiotics killed the ego as well as the lurgy.

Despite the rain and cold I had to get out today to get my haircut, alas Miss Scissors Ali is in the same ward in the same hospital enduring the same IV drip and surgery as I did, what a coincidence, must be something in the water on this estate. So the lovely Charlotte washed and cut back to what they laughingly call “wash n go” length.

This afternoon I did 90 minutes, longest home practice in nearly 6 weeks. I have invented the “Quarter vinyasa” for between seated poses, basically entails lifting the legs walking back to downward dog and walking back forward and sitting down. Whatever it is about the angle of Upward dog still makes that too painful and there is obviously no way I can jump back or through. I can now do most of seated, Purvottanasana and Bhuja are still impossible, but I carefully managed to get into Kurmasana and have taken to doing Supta Trivikrmasana instead of Supta Padangusthasana, which is improving my LBH no end! I tried to do the lifted Upavistha and the bum balances today, I slightly had to bend the knees but not bad otherwise.

Urdva Dhanurasana is still not possible, I lifted up on to my head today to test my wrist, but as soon as I did it I knew I had to get back down asap, so it was back to some criminal Salabhasana, Ustrasana and hang backs. The rest of closing is possible with the exception of Sirsasana.

A week ago doing this level of practice would have wiped me out, so despite my tiredness during the working week, things are gradually starting to improve. I am still struggling with eating enough to give me the energy, I just don’t want it, despite needing it and the Doctor telling me to eat I just don’t have an appetite, even for the things I really like. A tin of soup is 2 meals instead of 1, a loaf lasts all week and as for green stuff and fruit, when you have no appetite it’s even harder to try and eat stuff that you don’t enjoy or hate, despite knowing it’s probably what you need.

So it has been a long week, returning to that place after 4 weeks away only reinforced just how much I don’t want to be there and how much it physically and mentally drains the life out of me.

Last practice with Cary tomorrow before her maternity leave, she and I were both hoping that I would crack the standing up thing before she went, but that’s been well and truly put back, it seems every time I get close to something my body finds a way to put the block on it. Frustrationasana.

AYL – much better practice

February 20, 2011

Well no chance of getting to YP this morning- I knew I was stuffed as the departure board had Delayed with no expected time, so I knew I would be walking round the corner, when i eventually did arrive. Surprisingly ,though the sign still said Delayed we saw lights emerge out of the merk and I was on my way.

My glasses steaming up as I tried to put the doorcode in, I can tell when I’m at AYL. delighted to see both Louise and Ruth on the other side and a spot in the corner in which to indulge my modified practice. R came for a quick chat before I started. It’s been too long since I have entered this door and been in this room.

A far more dynamic, though still semi vinyasa free, still slow practice. Surya’s without the upward dog element, but that’s a big step forward and 2 nice assists in DD taking the weight out of my hands into my feet. I have graduated to a 1/4 Vinyasa between sides and poses in seated. I did just about break sweat,normally at AYL I would be soaked, but without a really dynamic practice with proper Vinyasas it’s hard to maintain the heat once I sit down. I only had to miss out 2 postures in seated Purvottanasana and as usual Bhujapidasana, but worked out a way to do a semi vinyasa which helps keep the flow and focus. Quite a few more adjustments today, i felt like Lady Gaga this week breaking out of my shell. I only had to put in one extra Balasana after the Marichyasanas, lovely insist in Mari C from Louise, my bandaged arm was a passenger as she gave me a wonderful deep twist from my shoulders only. It was feeling nice to be gently pushed. Unlike the last few weeks I felt I had earned the right to play Pasasana, yeeeessssss, love my fingers getting almost together, only my arm stopped the bind on both sides.

After the usual little backbend bridges I tried pushing up onto my head to begin a tentative Urdva Dhanurasana, but after 6 weeks my shoulders really have lost a lot of strength, so after a couple of abortive attempts I stopped and stood up to play around at hanging back. Ruth was suddenly in front of me, I was aching to indulge a deep backbend, it’s what I have really missed. No i didn’t risk anything, Ruth did most of the work taking me down, touching down and coming straight back up. I couldn’t stay down and walk in, but I think she saw the grin on my face,the joy of doing a deep backbend when i came back up, it felt so good, even though Ruth did 75% of it.

Even the rest of closing feels different after another weeks rest and tentative practice at home. Sirsasana for about a minute. Little milestones, things I used to take for granted gradually coming back to the party.

The previous 2 Shala practices have been about opening up and just relearning the postures, finding energy and building stamina, but being pushed just a tiny bit today almost had the feeling of breaking out of my self imposed cocoon. If I had done a practice like this 6 weeks ago I would have been pretty disappointed, but today it felt really good and the progress in the last 7 days has surprised and delighted me. The stamina is coming back, the poses are coming back. Thanks to Ruth and Louise for gently encouraging me back to a more normal practice.

3 weeks to Kino,maybe just maybe if I’m careful I’m going to be able to do far more than I thought was going to be possible.

Fit for something

February 18, 2011

Well after what will be 31 days off work, I will return to work on Monday, oh well it couldnt last forever and I need to start saving for Mysore, not to mention the credit card bill, you would think being off work you would save money, but it aint true, Ipads, Apps, Massage and prescriptions seem to have battered my credit card.

My GP was much happier with my physical state, although I’m still nowhere near 100% fit, the surgery as you can see is looking good, the Alien has been killed off by surgery, weeks on IV drips, tablets, Reeses pieces and Caramel eggs. I still have a way to go before I’m fully fit and not exhausted by doing things I usually take for granted, at least another month or so probably, which as I said before stops me having too higher expectations of the workshop in Edinburgh.

Well she said I can go back to work, but with some proviso’s, that I use a PC keyboard and mouse with my left hand only, tie the right behind my back or something to stop me and cover it with a tube dressing. What happens at work rather depends what attitutude the company take, she has said that if the arm gets too painful or that I find I am physically struggling then I am to go back to her and she will sign me off again or write a note detailing what I can and can’t do. I know that place wont want to make any allowances, well if I get any shit I’m going back pronto, my precious 10 year no sick record has gone now, so stuff em!

And the best part is no longer having my arm swathed in 4 layers of dressings, tomorrow I can have a shower without a plastic bag covering up one arm or the other for the first time in 30 days, no more one handed hair washing while trying to keep the other arm vertical.

iPad blog & a little progress

February 14, 2011

So where were we? Well on the health front it’s been an up and down week, the surgery looks really good, no need for a graft, just the skin quietly healing, the problem is below the surface where the tissues are still damaged and bruised and cause me to reach for the painkillers if I try to do much. The body is slowly recovering, though I was out with my Mum on Wednesday and she thought I was going to pass out. I go from being ok, or thinking I am to having to sit down and take a breather, there is a fine line which I don’t seem to be any good at judging. I am still sleeping a lot, but as the Doctor and others have said that’s my body healing itself.

Yoga is just a case of doing a very slow, highly modified practice. As V commented I am now seeing this as me time, practice is for a different purpose at the minute, to help me heal, to get the blood to flow round to the surgery, alas it’s not giving me energy, it’s taking it, which is why I have become more discriminating about what practice entails, Balasana between sets of poses. But I feel so much better mentally for stretching, but it depletes me physically.

So after a lovely 2 hour yogi breakfast, hot croissants, yummy, I decided that as I have so much time on my hands, craving a keyboard that doesn’t kill my wrist in 2 minutes and having made the decision that I’m going to put me first ( when doesn’t he I hear you say,), l went to the Apple store and bought myself an iPad. Oh my god I love it, I think the only thing I have loved more was my cat. They set it up for me, gave me a 40 minute tutorial, sorted out my iPhone and sent me on my way. So this is my first blog from my iPad, I hope the photo comes out,

I may hate my job, but whoever I have worked for has had their money’s worth out of me, no sick days in over 10 years until now, never late, no time off for Dentists, Doctors etc, I have stupidly in hindsight in the past gone in when perhaps I really should have stayed home, cough splutter, no more doing myself harm for the future. It really is time to give my body the time it needs to recover from what has been a big illness, I truly had no idea just how much it has taken out of me. I am trying to eat a bit more ( Pasasana is still too easy,), I need the food energy. I have followed Doctor’s orders, resting a lot, eating, it will be interesting to hear how she thinks I’m doing on Friday , if she thinks I can go back to work the following week or if she again thinks my physical recovery needs longer.

But at least I have something to occupy my mind now, learning to drive my iPad, I’m glad I decided to do it, rather than keep waiting. If I can’t use my practice to give me that mental lift, then it needs to come from another stimulus and this one is fun,

Not as well as i thought

February 8, 2011

Friday’s appointment at the Hospital felt like a step forward with the quite good progress on the surgery, today with my GP felt like steps back. She says the surgery is healing ok, but she is quite concerned about my physical recovery. She said I may think I’m fine, but my body isn’t , the biggest give away is feeling wiped out and sleeping up to 12 hours at a time . I have always slept well but this is excessive and I could quite easily sleep during the day as well.

She says my body is trying to recover from a massive infection, surgery and 3 weeks of antibiotics by IV and tablets that have killed my stomach.

To stop me she has signed me off work for at least 2 more weeks, she’s told me to just rest, sleep if my body wants and to try and eat more and healthily to give me more energy and put the weight back on. I have never been a big eater and the stuff I do fancy to eat probably doesn’t come under the healthy list, so I’m struggling a bit.

Physically I’m not to push it at all, gentle yoga stretches is fine, a little walking, but to realise yet again just how bigger deal this was for my 46 year old 9 & 1/2 stone body. She told me this isn’t going to be a quick fix, to expect it to take 6+ weeks for things to get anywhere near back to normal.

This isn’t what I wanted to hear even if it was what I needed to hear, Kino in 5 weeks was my target, but that doesn’t look a likely or possible target now.

That said she is a new Doctor, very approachable who doesn’t try to get you back out the door in 2 minutes, she gave me far more information about the infection, why it got in and what effect all the treatment has had. She also wants to see me again before she will even think about letting me go back to work.

I know she’s correct about my physical state, but mentally it’s put me back being told. I am recovering, no doubt about it, but not as well and as quickly as I thought or hoped, this road looks like being longer than I envisaged. Think it may have to be another massage to lift my spirits or some retail IPad therapy,

Highly modified

February 6, 2011

When I last left the Shala I had no idea it would be another 3 weeks until I would ring the bell and step through the orange door again and what would happen in the interval.I nearly shed a tear when the buzzer went and the door opened this morning. It feels like I have been on a long journey.

A welcome back hug from my teacher and a chat about the extent of my “injury”, though to be honest I mentally don’t see it as an injury as such, afterall I didn’t hurt myself.  She treated it as if I had sprained my wrist, a list of “Dont’s”, no Surya Namaskar, well except the very modified up and down one she prescribed, no vinyasas in seated, no UHP, Purvottanasana, Bhuja, Kukkutasana, Supta Konasana, bum balances, Urdva Dhanurasanas.

OK so what does that leave? Well more than enough surprisingly. I did about 20 of the modified Surya’s just to get my body warm, then managed to slowly go through standing, spending longer in the poses I can do. As expected Trikonasana B and Pariv Parsvakonasana were a problem as I couldn’t put my hand down, I can kind of put my fist down, but my arm pretty soon lets me know the limitations. Cary gently adjusting my hand position. A dyslexic Virabadrasana, not coming into it from Downward dog meant I managed to enter the wrong way round, oh well!

Seated feel strange without the vinyasas, it takes more effort for some reason to remember what comes next, I ended up doing a forward bend between poses and sides in lieu of a downward dog to feel like I was doing the next pose from an even place. Binding, unless it’s an easy one like Mari A are a definite no go, even finger touching on Mari B soon made me bail out, Mari C was another problem, you almost need the bind to help get the leverage, Cary told me to just twist and forget the bind. Mari D I abandoned. It’s typical though that there is nothing to stop me doing Navasana! I was actually surprised to break sweat, so decided after a couple of for fun LBH’s to try Supta K off the floor instead of my usual entry method, I managed to cross my feet, but no way for the hands, I think Cary thought about joining them up for me, but thought better of it. She came back to give me a wonderfully heavy squishing in Baddha Konasana.

I hadn’t intended to do Pasasana today, after all I hadn’t exactly done a full primary! But I just thought I’m going to try it just for fun, well I’m so skinny just now, (Despite a Mcdonalds last night), that I can easily finger touch on both sides, the only thing stopping a bind is the injured arm. I told Cary after and she laughed and said it does make it easier!

Backbends consisted of a cheaters Ustrasana (she was out of the room 😉  ), and then quite a few Bridges. I got bored with those so decided to stand up and do some hang backs, played around, but going nowhere near the edge and I was told after that Cary walked past me a few times, but she left me alone, suspect she was just making sure I was staying within the limits.

Closing is pretty possible, well if you discount the 10 second Sirsasana, I went up evenly but had to put more weight into the left side and that very quickly felt like a recipe for disaster, so came down sharpish, though at least I got the nice back manipulation in Balasana 🙂

A lovely long Savasana and somehow I had contrived to do a practice missing out loads that took nearly 2 hours without using my right hand! It felt like a worthwhile practice, my mind wasn’t jumping ahead to dropbacks and standing up, what I did I was present for and I suppose that’s the point!

My right arm and hand were complete passengers today and will be for the forseeable future. A friend who is a Nurse warned me yesterday that its not going to be a quick fix, having surgery on top of the infection means my body needs time, mentally accepting so many limitations is going to be a battle on its own.

But after practice it was wonderful to go off for breakfast with my Shala friends. It all felt like coming home safe after being lost and scared. The Shala extends far beyond the time we spend on our mats and I’m grateful to all the yogi’s who helped get me through these intervening weeks.

Some answers, before oblivion

February 4, 2011

Back to Hospital today to have a check up on last weeks surgery. A very long morning waiting my turn, mainly because they insisted on doing it in an isolated room, the infection is gone, but I still feel like a plague carrier as they come at me in their yellow plastic aprons, gloves and masks! But the surgery is looking good, it hasn’t yet dried up, it’s still weeping, but the area is much smaller.

I was at last able to ask some questions, they told me exactly what they did and more importantly how deep they went. I wanted to know why, though my arm is looking good if still bruised, that its still so bloody painful doing that much, they said it’s down to the extent of the infection and subsequent surgery and the trauma that brought. They told me everything will come back to life, but its going to take a while, just to do the little exercise the Physiotherapist gave me and to let it heal, don’t push it, ok no downdogs or kitchen handstands I promise! I’m finally drug free, the tablets they sent me out on to replace the IV drips have been killing my stomach, so hopefully that can start to settle down now, also not having a needle shoved in it every night has been a bonus.


Tentative practice

February 3, 2011

Still at home taking it very easy. Apart from having to see the GP Nurse to getting the dressing changed on Wednesday, I havn’t been out. The surgery is healing well, though my arm is black and blue and still pretty tender.

I’ve been doing a practice of sorts every afternoon, lots of amending and trying to find things that work around not being able to push into my hands and wrist. I seem to be able to do most of standing, first side of UHP is a no no and the vinyasa into the Virabadrasana isn’t possible.

Seated are vinyasaless, I can’t find a way to do that, so I just go from one asana to the next, but spending longer in them, especially all the seated forward bends is getting the length back in the muscles even without any heat. I can’t do my favourite Supta Kurmasana , so instead I have been playing around with LBH. The left side I can do quite well and if I roll back I can hook the right foot fir Dwi Pada, but then I’m stuck like a Beetle on it’s back.

I can’t pull on my hand so Supta Konasana and the bum balances are impossible, though I can carefully do Supta Padang’

Backbends are where I deviate most from the programme, it’s so annoying not to be able to take advantage of being so light, though I did finally get the scales back over the 9st barrier today. Salabhasana and Ustrasana work best, obviously Urdva Dhanurasana is a while away, but I want to be able to work my back so it’s not rigid for when the time comes. I have started to add hang backs, going as far as I dare, it feels like it would be fine for a teacher to assist me down and straight back up.

I have been surprised at how much flexibility I have, I expected everything to be really tight, but poses like the Janusirsasana and Triang Mukha are as deep as ever. It’s binding that is an issue, if it’s easy like Mari A I’m fine but if it’s one where I need to stretch the fingers a bit and grab and cling on pulling through my arm then no way.

I think I’m being pretty sensible, yes there’s a first I can hear you saying, but it’s making me much more mindful of breath and bandhas, but at least it feels like a worthwhile 75 minutes on my mat, even if it is a bit disjointed and illegal

Back to Hospital tomorrow, with luck I won’t be staying this time