Archive for March, 2011

TLC – Mari D & drop backs return

March 26, 2011

Thanks to yet more action by ASLEF tomorrow I had to get my practice in at The Lifecentre today instead. As I probably mentioned before I like The Lifecentre, it was the first place I ever practised and The Loft is cozy and Michaela is a great teacher, so it’s no hardship, just makes things a bit more expensive than I had hoped this month with higher Shala costs and extra tube fares.

Only 6 students this morning so lots of help in the right places, Michaela seems to know when to arrive, not necessarily perhaps when I want it! I had mentally lowered my expectations for practice after the GP appointment last night and the news that my infection fatigue recovery is set to take much longer than expected. And what happens when you surrender to a fact like that? Well obviously you get a much better practice than you expected. I did cut it back to 5 & 3 Surya’s today so that I in theory would last longer. Deepest Prasarita C assist in 2 months, way longer than 5 breaths as M could feel me releasing more and more and just kept going, no pain in the wrist with this one now.

I felt OK when I reached seated, so after listening to the newbie next door getting a jump back lesson I decided to see if my wrist would acquiesce to a jump back, and so long as I set up right with wrists parallel and fingers pressing I can do it. This lasted until Triang Mukha when the wrist was still willing but I knew I wouldn’t last if I kept expending that much extra energy. After a nice squish in Mari A I knew the others would be there today including Mari D on the second side, I had bound myself but M came along to make a better join and deeper twist.

I definitely had a what happens happens attitude today, just to try and be present, try and remember breath and bandhas, but to enjoy it, it is what gets me through the week after all. So Bhujapidasana rolls round and finally after all this time I can get the weight into my hands and lift my feet, though the exit is yet to reappear, exit by ignominious bum role. Supta K is BACK bound both ends, hands tightened by a little assist, though another no quite as it should be exit, leaving me in a sweaty heap on my face as I tried the vinyasa. This is the point where I was seriously flagging and running out of chi, maybe I should have stopped for chai! Luckily Baddha Konasana and Upavistha are poses I can kind of take a rest in, hanging out in the forward bends until I got my equilibrium back, though I could see M’s feet and hear her mind thinking “he’s been in that pose a while!”

Pasasana is getting better I am so close binding the first side now using the deeper twist Tania entry method, had 3 goes on each side before Michaela came along and had me bound with feet flat.

Urdva Dhanurasana with the wall and then a couple on my mat, but this is still a little too much in terms of energy coming at the end of practice when I’m already in deficit and pushing that weight off the floor isn’t something my wrist likes, though once I’m up I can now stay for a few breaths. But it doesn’t feel like a backbend because in my mind it’s about my wrist, arms and shoulders. Hang backs and dropping down the wall feel much more like it, after a few getting lower and lower down the wall I started just hanging back at the front of my mat when I suddenly realised the floor looked a bit closer than of late, so I stuck my arms out and managed to land quite safely. OK it may have looked more like a knee bend towards the end but it was good to do an intentional one after the unintentionally painful one I did at Kino’s. I decided to try that again, I think all the stuff we did at the workshop some of it must have sunk in, I managed to land again and walk in a tiny bit, but figured that was enough and lowered down before my wrist decided to get in any protests. The reward was the the best Paschimottanasana squisher in London flattening me into the ground while kneeding my neck and shoulders at the same time, not sure how many arms and hands M has!

I will admit I was pretty tired by this point, Vinyasas were taking longer, I kept needing a little rest before pushing into upward dog, but there was no way I wasn’t going to make it to the end before a 15 minute Savasana.

Practice is coming back, even if life in general is still leaving me exhausted and frustrated. But it was actually a really nice practice, even if I know that I did some crap exits and only jumped back and forward for a few postures, but safely landing a dropback felt great.

A nice compliment on the way out from a new student who has only done led classes, it was her first Mysore style and she practised opposite me this morning, she said ” You have a lovely practice”, it was the first time she had seen it done all the way through. I could find lots of faults with it, but she saw what was good and maybe that’s what I need to do to, thanks Joanna.


Lurgy lingering longer

March 25, 2011

since I practised at the weekend it’s been a steady downward curve on the practice and energy fronts. I practised Monday and Tuesday managing less each evening. Wednesday I was just shattered when I got home, I laid on the bed at 8:30pm for a little rest and the next thing I know it’s 7:30 the next morning! Thursday I did half primary and some backbends, but only did a vinyasa between poses and not sides. It still took me 90 minutes. There have been other fatigue signs like making silly errors and walking into a filing cabinet I knew was there, along with bigger hints like being totally wiped out and struggling to catch my breath.

Although I am back to eating at pre lurgy level and am back to my normal weight I am still so devoid of energy, to the point that my mother was begging me to see the GP. I put this off, after all I was told to be prepared for it to take a few weeks for normality to return. But last night I was again yawning and after more coercion I finally gave in and made an appointment to see the Doctor this evening. GP admitted that perhaps her 6 week estimation was a bit on the hopeful side, but was based on my previous good health, yoga, non smoker, non drinker etc. 

My main worry is that there is some underlying something that allowed the infection to take hold and that is now still there stopping my recovery. Blood tests are now booked for next week, eeeek ouch!

She said in years gone by I would have been sent to convalesce, rest, sun, but in the 21st century it’s about getting tax payers back to work. I had 3 weeks off when I escaped from Hospital and felt fit enough to return to work. Driving a computer isn’t physically hard, but as she says just having to concentrate, being constantly on it and the general stress of work all take their part of the precious energy reserves my body wants to use to recover. 

She said I have been doing the right thing, taking Probiotics , doing practice every few days, having massage, sleeping, i asked about yoga, is it too much, having explained I have gone from 6-7 days practice pre surgery to every 2nd or 3rd day now. She said so long as I hadn’t just tried to pick up where I left off it’s fine, it’s definitely a good thing, even if it leaves me tired. The main reason for my body still wanting to sleep anything up to 12 hours is that work and the stress of work is not giving my body enough rest during the day, whether I do practice or not later in the day makes no difference if the working day has already consumed all the potential healing energy to get through the day. She suggested the company cut back my hours, yes I can imagine what kind of reaction that suggestion would get! 

As well as the probiotic I am taking she said I probably need a multivitamin to help things along ( anyone know a good one a High St chemist would have?) But unless the blood tests come back with something amiss it’s just going to be a longer process than I or she envisaged 6 weeks ago, maybe as long as another couple of months. It’s purely fatigue from the infection which took my body to zero, she reckons I’m back to about 40-50% now. But at least she said do your yoga, its not doing any harm, so tomorrow at TLC I will be on my mat. And will follow with croissants and tea.

Snakes – that is the Dark side

March 21, 2011

Must be the enormously beautiful full moon that’s bringing out the dark side. Apparently 5 ships ran aground on the UK coastline over the weekend because of the low tide caused by the full moon. Then this morning I’m flicking through the paper and come across an article about a new yoga class being offered in London, “Snake Yoga“, stemming from the Kundalini tradition, though reminded me more of Solitaire in the James Bond film!

Enforced day at home yesterday, thanks to the train strike, but surprisingly I found the energy and focus to knock out a half decent full primary in the upstairs sunshine. Though the previous days Marichyasana D on the second side went missing, oh well you can’t have everything.

Forced to the darkside to practice

March 19, 2011

I would normally follow the plan and take the Moon day for rest, especially at this time as my recovery stalls. But ASLEF have taken it into their heads to not work on Sundays which means no Sunday trains into or out of the city, £400 for an 8 hour shift is clearly not incentive enough, which shows how overpaid they are.

So if I wanted my precious weekly Shala practice it would have to be a Saturday and a Moon day, a visit to the darkside! TLC at least gives me this option and the teachers there are great. I love the heat and energy in the small Loft studio looking out over the Notting Hill rooftops at least until the windows steam up and I have to bring my drishte back to the mat. A good practice today, with Philipa teaching. Standing seem to have pretty much returned, P giving me the strongest PPC assist since the surgery. UHP was the only other intervention until seated.

By the time I got to seated the Shala had filled up, I was going slow, in a futile attempt at energy preservation, people who started 15 minutes after me had overtaken me, not that it matters. P asked if I had done Purvottanasana, I replied for about 2 breaths! A nice assist in Mari B and found that for the first time in 2 months I could bind both sides of Mari D, yay. Bhuja faff, before a super Supta K, P encouraging me to exit into Dwi Pada, she always does it and I love trying, even though I can’t really do it. P moved to help the yogini next to me who did Dwi Pada with ease and exited with a grace and control that I never expect to reach. At this point energy deficit struck, the vinyasa collapsed in upward dog, and I suddenly realised sweat was pouring in rivers down my face, even more than with Kino last weekend.

Pasasana assisted into binds on both sides, Tania’s entry method seems to be helping, I had tried on my own before help arrived, then from a more traditional squat P had no trouble binding me and getting my feet flat.

Closing, back to doing UD against the wall, then one on the mat, it just takes so much effort to push up, being knackered by this point and having upper arms that have so much strength to regain its unfortunate that it comes at a point in practice when I’m struggling to reach the end. Oh well play hang backs instead, trying to remember Kino’s advice, engaging the legs, tailbone under, not bad, then P comes along with a strap to do proper assisted ones, she has me do 4 or was it 5. The control is coming back, the upper back is quite open, just frustrating that I can’t land on my own or walk the hands in once down. As P said it’s only been 6 weeks since surgery. Accepting that backbends are not possible without assistance just now has made me focus on the rest of my practice, I have found that although the Autopilot Bandha switch still won’t work, I do remember more often to try and turn Mula and Udiyana “On”, I can feel the difference, especially in poses like UHP and seated forward bends. Thanks to Kino for last weekends Bandha explanations and Vinyasas that may have left me shattered, but at least are making me be more attentive to things other than the actual physical asana.

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about the awful Saturday night when the Hostel wouldn’t let me in because I didn’t have photo ID, and having to pay over the top for a bed near AYL. As you can imagine I complained, threatening them with hell and damnation, not to mention the small claims court and a lot of bad publicity. Guess what? Well Friday afternoon I get an email from the booking companies customer service Director at their HQ in the Netherlands offering to pay for the Hotel 🙂 complaining works, bad service needs to be shown up.


Kino in Edinburgh – Mysore & backbends – No problem all coming!

March 14, 2011

After the killer led primary and Agni it was Mysore practice on Sunday morning, much better for me. I was worried about crashing and burning again, so took it really slowly, to the point that the yogini who was next to me was on closing as I did Marichysana A! It was far better, having the practice back within my control, my own pace, much less of a trial both mentally and physically. A nice squish in Downward dog and Padahastasana and PPC, left to plough on by myself until seated, before help in Paschimottanasana and Triang Mukha. Having time meant I managed all the the Mari’s though couldn’t quite bind the second side of D. Bhuja was a faff, with my feet on the floor, but Supta K was fun, I am back to being able to cross my feet, but am still only tantalisingly close with the hands, Kino coming to the rescue to bind me up, shouldn’t be long before I can do that on my own again. 🙂

After a comment by H at dinner I decided to try Urdva Dhanurasana against the wall, I wanted to see if the backbend workshop was going to be viable. After a few warm up bridges and a visit to Reception to borrow their sellotape to rebind the dressing on my wrist, I tried to tentatively push up and on the 2nd attempt managed to straighten my arms, progress of a kind. Enough of that, I had picked a spot with some wall, specifically to play drop backs against. Some nice back bends playing around, I didn’t expect help, but Kino arrived and asked if I wanted to have a go, explaining to her that landing is a bit iffy and the need to come straight back up, “No problem, you got it, down and back up” she said, some nice deep bends, yay that was good, another tick on the recovery road.

Surprisingly I wasn’t wiped out and shattered as I was during and after the led primary, just nicely tired, a nice 3 hours in the local Ashtanga hang out cafe eating baguettes and Pain au Raisins before the afternoon workshop.

Backbend workshop
I kind of knew what to expect, lots of leg work, kneeling stretching the quads, pressing into the toes before even attempting to bend backwards. Lots of advice about technique, great for me coming back to backbends after 7 weeks off. Lots of Kino gems of wisdom, such as “fear in backbends may be fear of emotional release and not physical difficulty”, “backbends are about creating space between the joints not compressing and causing pain, hips need to be open so the pelvis can move forward and stop pinching in the lower back, also stretch in the Psoas is crucial element”.

You can fly too , No problem!

We then started bending over backward using 2nd series poses increasing in difficulty, though Kiino has a way of making the ones that are relatively easy feel hard, Salabhasana lifting the knees then the hips, raise the sternum, look up ( mind going shit how much longer?). Ustrasana I like, always been a fan of that one as I do it quite a lot at home. Then Laghu Vajrasana which after partner help I found quite easy to come up from on my own, my legs seem to be about the only bit of my body which hasn’t lost all it’s strength. Kapotasana is hard, much further away from that since the last time I tried it with Kino. We didn’t do Urdva Dhanurasana or dropback which was wonderful, my wrist didn’t have to do any work at all. I learned a lot, refining backbends now I’m coming back to them after a lay off, hopefully I will do them with better technique and won’t piss off my Piriformis. Having been fearful about doing the workshop I ended up getting a lot out of it, I didn’t have to leave anything out and lots of good ideas which I hope I remember when my teacher is standing in front of me with that “Just do it!” look on her face. Her final gem after asking if we were aching? “aching not pain, all good, all is coming”.

After practice visit to a health food store, H taking over from Susan and Mel in trying to improve my dietary habits! I came out with a bag of granola and some nuts, well it’s a start!

Monday Mysore practice
Not even crack of Dawn, it was pitch dark and too cold for my liking as I walked to the Shala at 5:45am for 6am start. Only 20 people there today, after 70-80 over the weekend. Found a spot next to the Radiator. A different atmosphere today, much quieter, more focussed, less manic, serious Ashtangi folk only. I could feel the weekends practice starting to catch up with me, I cut down to 3 Surya B’s today lest my Deltoids quit on me. Padahastasana squish but no PPC today, though some hard work assist in Utkatasana, my arms have a mind of their own as Cary knows! Slowed down again in seated trying to be precise with my hand position in the vinyasas so that my wrist and arms would last longer, I just knew it would be more of a struggle today. Just a hip prod in Janu A and again having time gave me good Marichysana, especially C, deep twist without having to pull my wrist. Navasana I started to run into energy deficit, not as bad as in the led class, but I had to slow down some more and resist the temptation to run for the finishing line, crawling over it would have to do. I tried Bhuja again today, but only by keeping my feet down, my wrist is getting stronger, but certain angles when bearing weight it really doesn’t like and the pain transfers to the top of my hand. Supta K bound again with a nudge from Kino, I thought she had gone, but she has a way of creeping up on you. Kino had help from Bruce today, so when I got to Urdva Mukha Paschimottanasana he was behind me, though he’s a strong guy and I’m a lightweight which meant his supporting foot shot me sliding across my mat!

Shala at 5:45am

Pasasana playtime, remember it was Kino who gave me this pose in Thailand last year. I have added Tania’s entry system to get the deeper initial twist before rising to attempt the bind. Again I didn’t know Kino was watching behind as I played around, a knee in the back gave me an inkling that help was at hand. “what can I touch?” she asked referring to my strapped wrist, told her sides and top are fine, just don’t push underneath, her usual “No problem” and she had me bound, brilliant both sides, good binds too once I got the grip. She says it’s coming, well all is coming according to Kino, but she gives you the enthusiasm and encouragement to keep trying even when something seems impossible. As she said “just keep sending the signal”, “send the signal for at least 6 seconds to the muscle or whatever and the response may eventually happen”.

After that lovely Pasasana moment it was time for backbends, time to try and remember and put into practice all that we learned the day before. Started with some bridges then moved my mat ro the wall, I thought it worth carrying on with H’s plan, managed to push up and try and move my chest towards the wall, that went well so decided after 7 weeks to try a proper Urdva Dhanurasana, hooray well for about 3 or 4 seconds I was up with almost straight arms before my hand and wrist said that’s enough. By this time lots of people were waiting for backbend help, i watched a stunningly good holding her ankles backbend by H. I was working hard and getting a decent hang back bend until I went a bit too far and ended up being forced into an unintentional dropback, I had to stick my hands out to save my head, as you can imagine my wrist was less than impressed, resulting in a lot of vigorous rubbing of hand and wrist, but at least I landed it. I decided not to hang so far with the next one, then realised Kino had her hands on my hips, I looked and got the “keep going” look and she did 3 down and ups with me. I have lost a lot of strength in some areas but backbends if I could trust my wrist would be back in a few days if I could do them, I am getting a far deeper bend from standing and trying to remember the sternum up techniques, no pinching or anything.

Savasana by the Radiator, almost falling asleep, until I heard Kino telling someone to crawl the fingers in Kapo. After being worried about the wisdom of coming to this weekend so soon after all that has happened, I managed a lot more than I expected, maybe the led primary was a bit much but once into Mysore it was good and the individual workshops were different and interesting. So to all of you who said just go and enjoy it and dont push, it you were right. Loved being here and good to catch up with a few people too. It feels like a little leap forward.

So after all that yoga it was time for a reward, a wonderful strong massage before getting the train home. Lovely Miss Elliot painfully kneeded and battered my ITB’s and calf muscles, she crunched the knots out of my shoulders before using heat on my back, heaven, never known an hour to go so fast. Though she warned me to walk and stretch the calfs otherwise they may seize up!

Kino in Edinburgh – crash & burn at Janu A

March 12, 2011

It’s great to practice with Kino again, she has an energy and enthusiasm that rubs off on everyone. I actually arrived in Edinburgh on Friday and did the local led primary last night just to stretch, the teacher omitted a few poses, so it felt relatively easy.

We woke to snow this morning, so a slippery walk to the Shala, a few familiar faces from London and Jersey, then Kino came and asked about the surgery and my recovery, told her my restrictions, she just said take it easy and do what you can.

I had forgotten how slowly she can count! She did give me a brilliant squish in downward dog though. Standing felt ok, then we hit seated and for me a brick wall at Janu A, I went to do the vinyasa between sides and my arms gave way, narrowly avoiding nose splat. I had been going well up to that point, careful Upward dogs in the vinyasas, even if i was a bit behind everyone else and at one point i almost forgot myself and went to jump through.It was a bloody long practice after Janu A, I just didn’t have the energy and I struggled too much for it to be doing me any good. My disappointing bridges while everyone else played multiple Urdva Dhanurasana. Savasana was heaven.

Warming up

Doing Kino’s led primary has really shown up how far I have to go until recovery is complete. Comparing today’s with the one back in September, well there is no comparison, my Deltoids have lost any strength they had and my general energy and stamina levels are still much lower than I thought they were. I came into the practice just to be there, to enjoy the energy and no expectations, but I have to admit I was a little disappointed to crash at Janusirsasana.

Waiting to start

Before we began the afternoon she asked me how the morning went, I explained I had run out of energy and dragged myself through. Guess what she said “No problem, don’t worry it will come back”

This afternoon we did a workshop about Agni or should that have read agony! Anyway it was interesting stuff finding our pubic, tail and sit bones, to get the internal lift that should make jumping back and Uth Plutihi easier. Kino said doing a hard Uth Plutihi actually makes for a better Savasana. We did partner work doing UHP with a hand in the lower stomach to make us go up and over more. Then breathing exercises, in Padmassana she told us to get all the air out on the exhale.

I have notes I must write up in a coherent way while I can still decipher my shaking hand scribble, I always take something from Kino, I enjoy her teaching.

Tomorrow morning it’s Mysore practice, hopefully plodding along at my own pace will make it more doable, I don’t want to crash and burn at Janu A again. I’m kinda worried now,thinking the afternoon backbends workshop will be beyond me.

Purvottanasana – but still wiped

March 9, 2011

I took Monday off after the double Shala practice over the weeekend. I am torn this week between doing practice in the hope that I will get more from this weekends workshop, or alternatively resting this week so I actually have some energy to do the workshop. Work + Practice = Shattered Globie.

My arm is getting stronger, even if my stamina and fitness levels are woefully under what they used to be. I decided to try a tentative Purvottanasana last night, well I could stay up for about 3 breaths, but that is 3 breaths more than I could manage at the Shala on Sunday. By the time I got to Mari B I had to decide whether to just do the poses and forget the vinyasas or do vinyasas until I finally ran out of energy. I went for just doing the postures, so at least I did them all.

I played around with Tania’s new Pasasana method, it’s good and would have been much better if I had been Shala hot and bendier, I could have bound both sides I reckon.

My arm where the surgery took place is getting stronger, its other areas in the vicinity that are a problem. I had a couple of goes at Urdva Dhanurasana, first one I pushed onto my head then just about got off the ground with very bent elbows. Second attempt was slightly better, I managed to push my arms a little straighter, but I had to come down for 2 reasons, only one of which I can understand. My upper arms were shaking, I have lost so much strength I can hardly believe it, I understand this because my arms have done virtually nothing for 7 weeks now.The other reason I had to bail out was pain in my wrist and surprisingly across the top of my hand, just below the wrist, what the hell is that about? The surgery is about 4 inches up the forearm, nowhere near the hand, I can kind of understand the wrist being a little weak, but why the top of my hand. It was much more than discomfort and I know when it’s time to get out of there.

After the abortive UD’s I played around dropping back on to the door, my back has the bend and I reckon I could do a dropback again now, but absolutley no way could my wrist/hand/arm stand the landing.

So a decent practice, which had taken me 90 minutes, the rest of closing left by the wayside in favour of a Paschimottanasana and Savasana, I’d had it and I knew it.

The effects of the effort seem to last, I woke after another marathon 10 hour sleep this morning, but the problem is I am not refreshed, I still feel shattered, really tired, I walked into a filing cabinet this morning and I’m just not with it, making silly mistakes at work, nothing drastic and easily corrected, but still errors I would never usually make.

Louise’s comment about my body using all its energy to heal the surgery is ringing true. When will my body start to recover physically, I can’t believe how long its taking to start to feel like I have some energy. My GP said to expect it to take time and though I didn’t expect to suddenly wake up one day and be back to normal, I have been expecting some kind of incremental improvement in my physicality, but its not happening.

The good, the bad & the slowly improving

March 6, 2011

After practice and breakfast the rest of Saturday was eventful to say the least. I popped in the Apple Store to ask a question about my iPad, question answered I mentioned how annoying it was 2 weeks after buying mine to hear the announcement about IPad 2, cue Apple person talking to Manager offering me a refund on mine if I brought it back with it’s box, with the option to wait for the new one or to buy an iPad 1 again but at the new £110 discount price. I happened to still have the receipt with me and asked if they couldn’t just give me a credit or refund my one and sell it back to me at the new discount price, so I didn’t lose my Apps, more discussion and a “yes that’s a good idea” , I walked out a happy bunny 20 minutes later £110 better off.

After running the travel club I had booked a bed at a Hostel in Hammersmith because there were no trains yet again this morning. The confirmation said just bring a print out of the confirmation email when you check in. When I arrived they said I also needed to provide photo ID, in the UK it is not a legal requirement to carry any ID, I am not in the habit of carrying my passport around and my old driving licence doesn’t have a photo. I offered my EHIC, the credit card I booked with and my rail pass but they wouldn’t accept any of these and told me to leave the premises as my attitude was upsetting them, ho hum tossers, so 9pm I am wandering around Euston trying to find a place to stay or plan B getting the train home and abandoning Sunday yoga which I really didn’t want to do. So much for Premier Inns Lenny Henry £29 a night TV advert, £140 you are having a laugh! But the polish guy there told me a place that’s cheaper a few minutes walk away, just a 5 minute walk from AYL, luckily they had a room still, though at twice the price of the Hostel.

THE SLOWLY IMPROVING – New take on Pasasana
So after a night near Tavistock Square and some Muesli breakfast it was a short walk to AYL, Louise and Tania in charge of my practice today. First time in 7 weeks I have done 2 Shala practices in a row and I was a bit apprehensive about my ability and stamina. I started off with my modified Surya, but on the 2nd one I forgot myself and went into Upward Dog finding my wrist and forearm could stand it, woo hoo, I couldn’t do it yesterday but today I could. I slowed my Surya’s down so that I could place my hands and keep doing up dogs .

Standing is feeling better, even compared to yesterday’s practice I could feel some extra length. The Shala wasn’t busy so got quite a lot of help today once seated began. Again poses like the Janu’s felt easier today, binding beyond my feet, I could go with the assist from Tania in Triang Mukha today instead of resisting, she was prodding my neck to make me relax. My problem is still stamina and energy, after binding the first side of Marichyasana D I was suddenly tired and flagging, it’s like hitting a wall at the minute. I mentioned this to Louise after and she said reckoned like others that my body is using the energy predominantly to heal the surgery leaving not much for anything else let alone practice, she told me just not to worry and be patient. She’s not the first to tell me this, so it must be right. I was glad of the assist in Baddha Konasana I didn’t have the energy to go forward. Rest of seated are a slog.

I wanted to do Pasasana after Michaela’s super assist yesterday though and did the first side not realising Tania was behind me watching. Before I got to try the 2nd side she came to give me a new way of trying to get into it. Although I can’t squat and bind she got me to sit down and get a deep twist before coming up into the squat and trying to bind, she bound both sides easily. I’m going to have to experiment with this, it seems worth persuing. Good when a different teachers gives a different take on a posture.

Closing Urdva Dhanurasana like Bhuja is still a pose too far for the recovering surgery,so just some bridges today before some hang back experiments. That was my plan at least but L came along and did assisted drop backs bringing me straight back up, but they felt good and it’s keeping the muscle memory for when I can do it on my own again.

So as a test for next weekends workshop with Kino, I think if I take it slowly I should be ok as far as most of the asanas are concerned, but I am worried about my stamina and energy still. Finding the requisite amount of energy to heal, recover, live ,work and practice Ashtanga is a problem. But slowly very slowly things are improving.

Not overdoing it now

March 5, 2011

Early train to TLC this morning, nice welcome back from the french lady on Reception asking where I have been the last 7 weeks. Michaela waiting in the Loft Shala, good to see her, she had been following the trials and tribulations of the last 6 weeks on FB. She had a view on why it happened, as I was her second student to be struck down by something we ought in the normal scheme of things be able to fight off. She reckoned that I like the other person are doing too much practice, wanting progress too quickly. I said to her that when I came back from Sri Lanka I was getting ever closer to standing up and am now frustrated with having to return to square one. “EXACTLY” she said, “You do workshops, go away to practice, spend loads of extra time doing backbends in your never ending quest to dropback and stand up”. She says I was just running myself down, not giving my body enough chance to recover, getting so low and when the lurgy struck instead of being able to fight it off, my body couldn’t do it and succumbed to the infection. M says she saw the same with the other person who was also to all intents and purposes a fit, healthy yogi, who was suddenly struck down after Christmas. M knows me well, with the small groups she works much more intensely with, compared to the usual larger mysore style classes, she knows my body well. She told me this was the wake up that maybe I need to be more careful with my practice and my life, to resist “wanting” poses so much and damaging my body ‘s ability to fight infections.
Lecture over on to my mat for a slow 2 hour practice, deep downward dog squishes. A very wobbly UHP that made the girl opposite me laugh, glad to bring a smile to someones face. Seated with my semi kinda vinyasa between poses and sides. A fantastic adjustment in Janu A, followed by a bound Mari D. No Bhuja, though my Navasanas seem to be stronger. Supta Kurmasana despite the restrictions I see I am the only one who can bind on their own, M came behind me then decided she didn’t want to pull my wrist so just pressed me down a little instead. Most of seated are possible now, they just need to be re refined back to where they were. Stamina is the problem, I think that was a withering look from across the room as I was in Balasana, a “take it easy don’t kill yourself kinda look”.

Despite my dressings M can never resist adjusting my Pasasana, I had done the first side, fingers almost touching, I thought after leaving me alone in Supta K she would just let me play, but no, she is still on a mission with this to get my feet down in the bind. “Again” came the instruction and she had me in a super bind with feet flat, felt great and didn’t hurt my arm, second side was even easier for her. I think she gets as much satisfaction out of it as I do.

A dip further into second series doing Salabhasana and Ustrasana, M doesn’t mind a bit of deviation, especially when there is a good reason and then a bit of dropping, hanging back playtime before a slow closing sequence and a very long Savasana, I’m sure the touch on my arm was to see if I was actually awake!

Nice to be back at TLC, I enjoy the small class with lots of help, the odd laugh and a great teacher. Though as expected as I left she told me to go to Kino, do what I can and just be happy with where you are and don’t worry about where you want or think you ought to be.

And the reward – round the corner to LPQ, note the healthy Apple juice accompanying the Raisin Danish !

Upward dog fatigue

March 3, 2011

I haven’t done much practice since Sunday’s Shala practice, apart from an hour on Tuesday evening. It’s taking me a long time still to recover from doing anything much. My wrist is getting better with the aid of a Powerball, but although the wrist can do more it can’t do it for any longer and is very quick to let me know when it has had enough.

I wanted a worthwhile practice this evening so after swan diving into Surya A I thought I would see how Upward dog felt, bad move…. My wrist wasn’t ready for that, but I found that if I left my knees on the mat I could at least get a micro backbend going that felt like an Upward dog. It’s the movements in-between where I have to be really careful, the wrist seems to be quite happy in a static Downward dog, but moving the weight through the hand and wrist soon becomes uncomfortable and then achingly annoying.

Once into standing I’m ok until I get to UHP, pulling on the wrist while grabbing the toe is a 2 second half a breath trial that soon leads to abandonment. The front of my thighs were really aching as I dangled my foot out in front for 5 tortuous breaths.

Seated I wanted some heat and flow, as usual I had to leave out Purvottanasana and Bhujapidasana etc, but I can do most of the others including most of the binds up to Mari C. I ended up doing a vinyasa between sides and poses, with Kino coming up in a weeks time I need to get going a bit. The vinyasa now consists of lift legs straight in front, cross feet, step back, lower down into micro upward dog, downward dog, then step forward, sit down, next pose. I managed to plough through most of seated, taking the odd rest and realising in Baddha Konasana that I could do with a pedicure by Black & Decker sander, so many things just aching to be picked at!

I got as far as Pasasana before a wave of fatigue swept over me, I knew I was tiring, but I suddenly felt overwhelmed with tiredness, deciding to be sensible I just did Salabhasana and an Ustrasana before calling it a day.

I wasn’t quite shaking, but I wasn’t far off, my arms and wrists are still aching, I thought I was further along this recovery road than I obviously actually am. I have lost so much strength and stamina,especially in my arms and shoulders, my mind was taken back to my first yoga class when I left The Lifecentre totally wiped out, crawling up Notting Hill Gate virtually on hands and knees to the Mcdonalds for a milkshake. It’s becoming obvious now that next weekends Kino workshop may be a taking on a bit much, if my arms are aching and shaking now, what are they going to be like after 2 hours led primary, mysore practices and 2 afternoon workshops?

I was planning to do 2 Shala practices this weekend, I still am, I need to know what I can try and do the following weekend, but I may have to reign in my enthusiasm. If I don’t try and extend myself each time I practice it’s never going to come back, but what energy my body does have it seems to still want to use for physical recovery. Five weeks after I am still sleeping up to 12 hours and still struggling with appetite, I am probably eating enough for recovery but not for going to work and doing practice as well.