Battle of wounded knee

The knee is not happy, obviously it was not quite ready for full on Garbha experiments. I had to rest it last night, but it actually seems to seize up more by being rested. Every time I had to get up and do something in the Office it was a case of gingerly standing up until it could take the weight, then hobbling off, with people asking “what have you done?”. I just told them I tweaked my knee, if I had told them I had been attempting to do Garbha Pindasana, well you can imagine how that would have gone…. Yoga muggles. It’s at times like this you know you are part of an almost secret society.

If I can walk a distance that definitely helps it no end to loosen up, so both lunchtimes I have taken a walk in the sunshine, but once back sitting for a length of time the next time I have to stand it’s a problem.

So tonight I decided to practice, very slow Surya’s to warm up then a complete standing sequence, it felt good to stretch, squat and bend. Seated obviously had to have a few left out, anything that involved a half or full Padmasana, but Janu A & B were no problem. Left out Mari B & D, then jumped to Baddha Konasana, which at first was not comfortable, but just sitting there and not making an effort to go forward allowed the knees to take their place on the mat. So alls good. OBVIOUSLY I didn’t even attempt Garbha.

Urdva Dhanurasana made me conscious of not letting the knees go to the sides, but no I’ll effects, followed by some hang backs, tempting though the floor looked I decided not to risk it.

Now an hour later I am stiffening up and no doubt in the morning despite a knee wrapped up like the Christmas Turkey I will be doing cripple asana again. 

I booked a week off today, thinking it would be refused, but wasn’t much to my surprise, I had this plan of going up north for a workshop in Newcastle, but it’s sold out with a waiting list that is also overflowing, so I am left with a week off, but nothing to do with it.

When I am able to attempt Garbha again I am going to have to put a lot more thought i to it, incremental not monumental attempts


14 Responses to “Battle of wounded knee”

  1. Nobel Says:

    Hello Kevin,
    I’m very sorry to hear about what you are going through with your knee. I’ve tweaked my knee before (in karandavasana), and I’ve had the same symptoms (especially the part about having to gingerly stand up before it can take the weight), and it’s not fun (but I’m sure you know this already). And I watched your Garbha video, and cringed the whole time… but Susan’s already given you a big lecture on this, so I won’t say any more.

    Here’s something that Kino taught me, that you can try very slowly and cautiously when your knees start to feel a little better.

    The “normal” way to get into padmasana or half-padmasana (i.e. when your knees are feeling perfectly fine) is to bring the foot directly into the hip crease of the opposite leg, and then maneuver the knee into half-lotus. But when your knees are not feeling well, this will cause pain (and more injury) for your knee (I have experienced this first-hand).

    So here’s the “handicapped” way that Kino suggested to get an injured knee into whatever variation of half-lotus it can get into. Suppose you are trying to get into a right half-lotus. First, close your right knee joint by moving the right foot along the ground until the right heel touches the bottom of the right thigh (just like you are getting into Marichyasana A). Then very (very) slowly, with the right knee joint still closed, begin to bring the right foot toward the left hip crease. It is at this point that you really need to pay attention to your knee. While you can probably move through slight discomfort, you should stop whenever you feel pain (especially if the pain is a pinching pain). This is your limit. If you do not move beyond this limit, and just do whatever variation of half-lotus your limit allows you to on that particular day, your hips will gradually open, and your knee will heal.

    The problem (at least for me) is that ego often rears its ugly head, and urges one to “push” through the pain. Try not to listen to it.

    Hope this is helpful.

  2. susananda Says:

    ‘Incremental not monumental attempts’ – I love this!!

    I also like the way you were able to relax into baddha konasana, because the real solution to knee problems is to open the hips. And the way you resisted the floor and instead stayed in a controlled hanging position. Much better! Now you are using skillful means (upaya).

  3. Maria Says:

    May I suggest that you see a physio. Ok they are prob going to say “no Yoga” “No Running” “No Walking” etc etc, but at least get a diagnosis. It may be, and it seems to be the case from what I’ve been reading in the comments of those that know you best, that your current practise method could be aggravating your knee. You may have a slight ligament tear. or you may just have cartilage wear and tear (welcome to the club if so!!) but its probably best to get it seen to – as if you are still treading carefully 3 days later w no improvement… whay not just get a professional diagnosis/opinion?
    The last this you want is to damage it further, and have a long recovery time…..or not be able to practise at all

    Also, cycling, esp if you have a stationary bike, has no impact and can good for muscle buildup around the knee joint, which helps to stabilize it depending of course on what the physio says!!!

  4. Globie Says:

    Hi Nobel, Thanks for the suggestion, I will give it a go tonight.

    Susan, glad you approve 🙂

    Hi Maria,
    Things do seem to be improving, I got out of bed and could stand and put weight into the left leg this morning. I did think about the Physio, but having had this kind of problem in the past I know it can just click back as if nothing had happened. The left outer knee discomfort is going, the bigger discomfort seems to be in the muscle/tendon below the knee in the top of the lower leg. Doing a careful practice seems to have improve it with the range of motions involved.

  5. Helen Says:

    Hi Kevin,

    Sorry to hear about your knee. Like your description of your practice, sounds like you are on the right track. Whilst Nobel’s advise is great, I think you missed the “when your knees start to feel a little better.” I also don’t think you should move through slight dicomfort but I know others may disagree with me. Please don’t do it tonight, it needs rest. I also think you need to work with a teacher in person on this, which given that you usually get to the shala every week should be no problem, probably not this weekend but whenever it is feeling better. You can ask for help when your ready. Maybe you could have a week with Cary on your week off if she is back then.

  6. globie Says:

    Hi Helen,

    The knee has improved quite a lot in the last 36 hours or so, Tiger Balm and exercise seem to have been much better for it than immobility. It seems happy enough in Janu A & B etc

    I wont be pushing it tonight, usually Friday is an hour of standing and the 2S backbends. Then Shala practice in London Saturday @ TLC and Sunday with Susan.

    I may end up having a few days in London to practice if I don’t go away, though getting to YP by 6am is a bit of a tall order from out here.

  7. Helen Says:

    Hi Kevin, Great I am glad. I was not for one moment suggesting immobility just not doing anything to aggravate it. As I said sounds like you are on the right track. What worried me was that you said “Hi Nobel, Thanks for the suggestion, I will give it a go tonight.” and I don’t think you should try half lotus just yet. You could always stay in London, if you wanted or practice with Sarai at AYL, she has a later mysore session.

  8. globie Says:

    I was doing Mari A OK last night, so am half way there with what Nobel was suggesting. I wont be going for half lotus yet, I think it needs Shala heat.

    Sarai wont be at AYL then, she is permanently taking over from Philippa Asher at TY in Soho when she moves to India, not heard if AYL are getting someone else in for the 9-11 slot.

    I did think about a few days in Istanbul and some Mysore mornings with Gail.

  9. Helen Says:

    I get what you mean about being half way there as you can do mari A but it is actually the second part of the movement where you have to be the most careful about the knee as Nobel states. Anyway Nobel was describing how to get into half lotus and since your not going to try that I will stop fretting. Actually the way that Nobel suggested is similar to how I get into half lotus all the time but there is more detail and I think it is best learnt with a teacher than on the internet, especially when you have both an injury and a choice, you visit teachers regularly. When it is better you can also use a towel as a spacer for the joint which may take away any pressure but I am sure your teachers will advise you.

    Istanbul sounds like a great plan! You would need to check that Gail was there as she is quite a traveler.

  10. globie Says:

    Will see what Susan reckons on Sunday, if it keeps progressing.

    I sent Gail a message to ask, but no reply yet. Its just an idea, may well end up going to London

  11. V Says:

    There will be someone at AYL anyway, and all their teachers are really good.

  12. globie Says:

    Hi V
    Let me know if you hear anything.

  13. Nobel Says:

    Hello Kevin,
    I think that Susan is right that the underlying issue that needs to be addressed is hip flexibility. But this is probably not the best time to work on this. Helen’s suggestions are good. I was being a bit rash in suggesting what I suggested to you earlier; I also take back the “moving through slight discomfort is okay part”. Maybe you can work on opening the hips in the standing postures (longer holds) for the next few days, and see how things feel. And yes, I think working with a real teacher (as opposed to on the internet) is still best. You are in my prayers.

  14. globie Says:

    Hi Nobel
    My right hip is tight, but the left has always been good, I had surgery on it as a child, which has meant the left knee has always been OK until Tuesday night, if it had happened to the right I wouldn’t have been overly surprised.

    The next 2 days I get to practice with real Teachers, so should be in safe hands. I just need to be careful at home

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