Archive for September, 2011

Practice & more needles

September 29, 2011

I’ve been doing practice in the mornings since leaving work, it’s nice to have it done, though I am much stiffer in the mornings, but I seem to have more focus.Pasasana is definitely easier in the mornings, but backbends have gone off, not managed to stand up from one Block in a week. This mini Indian summer is helping, actually breaking sweat at home.

Final treatment from the Acupuncturist this morning. Some very sharp needles indeed, it felt like they had been specially sharpened, particularly the ones in my wrists and ankles, but today it was the left side ones which zinged, she says this is because the migraine cluster headache problem has been on the right and the Chi, Prana energy on the left was deficient and blocked, but now the flow is more balanced. First time she has put a needle in my head, i closed my eyes! She left the needles in for a while, but today i could feel the pulsing in the tips of both sets of fingers,not just one side.Even after she took the needle out of my wrist I could still feel the sharp sensation. She then again took the first set out and put in some specific needles, in my left toe, ankle and arm, the ankle needle seemed to radiate, as when she tweaked it I felt the sensation in my knee, I almost jumped off the table when she tweaked the arm needle, there is no build up of sensation, you feel it sharply go in, then a dullness, then nothing as she tweaks, them suddenly owww a very sharp sensation again and pressure, like a pocket of something stuck suddenly releasing.

I am still a skeptic, but I am sure it’s helped to break the cycle of the Cluster headaches. I am getting to sleep now, she said I seem brighter and more alert and my pulses are balanced again. I asked what she thinks is the cause of this recurrence after 9 years, her answer “Stress” on top the infection in January. She said I need to find a way of not bottling things up, find a way to release the mental pressure and stress, talk to someone, discuss my feelings, not something I am generally open to. How do you find someone to talk to who will not be judgemental and impartial and offer advice? She also said diet and exercise, obviously Ashtanga 2 hours most days is the exercise, but I have fallen a little from the no wheat wagon while the migraines have been so intense, comfort eating my way to (some) sleep.

I am discharged now, so I hope things settle down before the plane takes off for Mysore.


First day of freedom

September 26, 2011


First day of freedom, though technically I’m on holiday this week. No alarm or migraine woke me this morning, hopefully the cumulative effects of the Acupuncture are kicking in. Only a Typhoid jab to blot the landscape today.

Practice at the Posh Shala yesterday, a so so practice after a day off and the acupuncture treatment. It was toasty warm to start with then the Teacher turned the heating off and opened the door letting a draft blow in, so my arms didn’t get so far through in Garbha, but at least they are starting to go through.

Different Teachers see my backbends in a different light. E noticed my propensity for taking what she laughingly terms “Tea breaks” between each Urdva Dhanurasana, saying just do it and don’t get cold. My two regular teachers have both said I’m close to standing, but E stopped my standing up from blocks experiments yesterday, saying my upper back is not yet open enough to handle the action of standing or attempting to. I have to say that although I stood up they were far from being as fluid or safe as they can be, not my best, so in that context her comments were valid.

She explained that the reason she adjusted my Mari C was not to deepen the twist, but to try and open the area below the shoulders.

I enjoy practice with E, she has a great sense of humour and spots people taking the lazy option.

Two weeks today I leave for Mysore.

Needles part 2

September 25, 2011

I don’t know if Acupuncture has changed in 20 years or whether it’s having a different Therapist, but this is a different treatment. She started again with examining pulses and Tongue, then spent a while working her way up and down my arms and lower legs checking the energy channels, deciding where the needles would be most effective. Then it was needle time. “breathe in, breathe out” and in it goes, she explained that the ones I feel immediately are where the Chi is (too) strong, right arm and left leg, opposites, where as on the other sides she tweaked them for a minute or so before she got a reaction. Two particular needles had me jump, I felt them sharply go in then an electric zing below the point of entry. Some felt dull, I hardly felt them go in, no Chi, the object being to rebalance my Chi, she managed to induce a headache then it went. She tweaked a needle on one side and I reacted on the opposite side, weird. She removed the first 8 needles then concentrated some new ones just on the left to stimulate that side, leaving me for 10 minutes, this week i layed there in a spaced out state, as the ends of my fingers tingled and pulsed and my arm felt heavy. She checked my pulses again before taking the needles out.

It took me nearly 30 minutes to walk home and I spent the afternoon in a semi spaced out state, I just felt so tired. I am still a sceptic, had my strength of pulse improved, really? But I have just slept almost through a whole night and my head isn’t aching this morning, I just hope I have enough Chi in the right places to practice

Out with the old and in with the new

September 23, 2011

Well out with the old and in with the new. A new Chapter is about to begin. Last night I practiced at our new local Shala for the first time. It’s a nice light, airy space above a Coffee Shop. It got quite warm, warm enough to bind everything that needs binding and even wrestled my Wrists a good way through in Garbha. Cathy has a well stocked “Toy cupboard”, so after UD and regular dropbacks I played the standing up game, standing from 3 then 2, then finally from one block, but feeling like a bit of a freak show.

I will be back there tomorrow, not to practice but to have those little needles stuck who knows where by the Acupuncturist. It may be bad luck to write this, but since Monday mornings mega Cluster headache they have calmed down to being headaches, still waking me up in the night for a few hours, so I’m still pretty tired from a dire lack of sleep.

Today is my last day at work after 8 1/2 years with the Company, out with the old, goodbye to that stress. A new clean page of life turns over at 4pm. Let’s just hope for a migraine free bendy 3 months in Mysore.

First in a week

September 18, 2011


Second Sunday running the abysmal train companies train hasn’t arrived until past 8am, it’s a rubbish service. So again round the corner to AYL and an even longer wait to start than last week, the Sunday numbers at AYL seemed to have jumped since Sharath. Again starting in the finishing Room, getting through to Trikonasana before Louise called me in.

My first full practice in a week, not having been beyond Navasana with the Migraine problem since last Sunday. At the Shala it feels possible, the heat and focus do help, though changing rooms always throws me for a few poses. I found my foot for the second week running in Ardha Badha Padmot.

I took my time, I was a little concerned about my stamina, but only began to struggle after Supta K, which I managed to get myself pretzeled into without “help” 🙂

Both hands through my legs in Garbha, but not far enough through, I can’t get through further than the top of my wrists without my Lotus coming undone.

Surprisingly good backbends, 5 Urdva Dhanurasana’s then 4 dropbacks before help arrived, a bit of a backbend queue had developed which was nice because I got to play on my own. Standing up seems further away,mainly because I havn’t done much at home this week. Sirsasana was a worry, i don’t like the pressure on my head just now, I don’t want the Cluster headaches having an excuse, so I didn’t stay up long and abandoned Ardha


September 17, 2011

I tried Acupuncture for this Cluster headache problem 20 years ago, it wasn’t a great success and the Shiatsu I tried later did work to some extent. I hadn’t thought of trying it again until our new Local Shala opened it’s Therapy room and they were offering very cheap introductory sessions, so I figured I would give acupuncture another go, to see if a different Therapist 20 years later could come up with something different, or at least be the catalyst to break this cycle of intense pain.

Unlike 20 years ago the therapist went through a very detailed history and examination of pulses and Tongue, looking for what the underlying problem is. Some of her conclusions were not a surprise, that the after effects of the massive infection in January is still lingering, that the job and the changes coming up in my life, although positive are having an effect. She said my pulse was a little weak and my vital energy was deficient,so she finished the treatment with “Tonification” needling in the wrists, the needles go in and out, they are not left in. The left side felt almost numb, as if she had flicked my wrist with her nail, the right side was another matter, a sharp zinging sensation bringing me completely into the moment. Not a surprise as its the right side of my head that is the problem.

Like the therapist of 20 years ago she said the Liver imbalance is part of the problem, and also suggested that although my diet is not particularly unhealthy the reason sugar helps when I am coming out of a Cluster headache could be that my glycemic index is too erratic. She suggested that instead of my regular 3 meals, to instead eat a little less, but eat more often during the day so that the index stays more even. Yet another person telling me more water,less Tea.

She did the main needling on my back, some of the needles I barely felt, some felt sharp for a few seconds before settling, I think she used maybe 10 needles, then left me for a few minutes, I was present but a bit drowsy.

After the treatment she checked my pulses again, saying they were better, I am a born sceptic, so the jury is still out on whether acupuncture will help with what has become a chronic problem. I am going to have another treatment next week. Last night I escaped a full on headache, I hope and pray it’s on the way out, perhaps the thought of Acupuncture scared it off.


September 16, 2011
So much for my plans to practice every day, the Cluster headache migraine type things have taken over my life, I thought I was almost over them after going nearly 36 hours without one from Sunday afternoon until midnight Monday, but no, every night they wake me, depriving me of sleep. Even when they have passed they leave me shattered for the day ahead, so practice has become sporadic, I havn’t managed a full practice since Sunday, Monday was Moon day, Tuesday and Thursday have been half primary’s or less, dropbacks abandoned as the dizzyness takes over, no Sirsasana, I can’t stand the pressure on my head.

Desperate times call for desperate measures, so I am trying acupuncture tomorrow.

Is that my foot?

September 11, 2011

Back to the Sauna that is AYL today and for the first time in ages the post Sharath bump caused a backlog of yogis waiting to start their practice at 8am. Eventually i started in the Finishing Room and had done all my Surya’s before Louise called “one more” for my turn and what do you know, I get my usual spot in the corner by the window.

It was one of those days when rivers of sweat were forming lakes, so warm my head even got to the floor in Prasarita A and D before the shock of realising that it was my right foot my hand had found in Ardha Bahda Padmottanasana on the first side, I have never managed that before , even though I have been doing it on the first side of the seated version for a while. I’m still a way from finding it on the second side standing or seated.

Not much adjustment today, though knew I was going to get a squishing in Mari A when I saw the pink toe nails on either side and I lost the Supta K race. Mari D is back on both sides, after 3 months of only doing it on the second side, which was my bad side, I’m back to finding the first side relatively easy and back to the second side being an effort. I have carefully reinstated the Garbha experiments, in the sweaty conditions I got my arms a little bit further through, but not far enough, but at least my knee isn’t objecting this time. I was running out of energy, these migraines are debilitating for long after the pain has subsided. I stopped after 5 Urdva Dhanurasanas, saving what was left for dropbacks, but I didn’t get a chance to play as Louise came and did the assisted ones with me, her plan to get me to stand up on my own didn’t happen, though she tried bouncing me, dropback and straight back up, but I need a rock to get the momentum to make it easy for her to ping me back up. I need to play with backbends, doing them straight off isnt opening me up. An enjoyable practice, just hope I can repeat the Ardha Badha Padmottanasana bind the next time and squeeze my arms through a bit further in Garbha.

Moon day rest tomorrow, I need it.

New Local Shala

September 10, 2011



Our new local Shala had it’s official opening today, the Lady Mayoress turned up and we got to have a look around and meet Sian the acupuncture therapist who will be running the Treatment Room, i took advantage of her intro offer and booked an appointment for next Saturday in the hope that it helps these debilitating migraines. Last nights started at 9pm and didn’t abate until 1am, a little sleep and then it started again at 3am and my head was still splitting and eye still pouring as I stood in the queue at the Supermarket at 10am 😦

Practice has been decent the last 2 days despite the migraine, and as I type I’m feeling more alive after managing a full Primary, I started off just intending to do some Surya A’s and breathe, but it felt nice to stretch, amazing how good Downward dog feels as a Migraine abates and I just ended up doing it all.

This afternoon after my practice I treated myself to an hour on the massage therapists table, as usual she did wonders for my shoulder, back and that niggling sciatic Piriformis thing, though it was a tad uncomfortable at times as her thumbs and elbows did their work. She also seemed to be on a mission with my ITB’s, but after an hour I felt so much better, a shame I couldn’t be beamed directly from her table into my bed. “drink more water”, she says, though I’m not sure if she’s winding me up as she knows how much Tea i drink,that I should drink a glass of water for every cup of Tea to keep me hydrated. Sounds like “an old therapists” tale to me.

Neuralgia & Practice

September 9, 2011
It’s been a bit of a strange week. For no good reason the Neuralgia Migraine Cluster Headaches have come back after an absence of 7 years, I really thought I was done with them and they were in the past, but slowly slowly over the last couple of weeks they have come back, now being a daily occurence sometime between 3am and Mid day, 2 hours of excruciating agony above my right eye as red hot tears pour. Stress, anxiety, trying to look at my PC screen in the new Office in bright sunlight, something has set them off and I know from past experience that like a Hurricane I just have to wait for them to blow themselves out, I just hope they have gone by the time my flight takes off for Mysore.

After double Shala Practice at the weekend, I have done full Primary’s Monday, Wednesday and Thursday, but I can feel how much the Migraine sessions have taken out of me each day. It’s been a slog, though the backbends are coming along niceley, after the first ropey Urdva Dhanurasana the following ones are good and after P’s comment the other week about how my dropbacks veer to the right, I have consciously been trying to “middle them”. Although I still have to work my way down I have managed to stand up every day from just the Block, I really want to try it off the floor, but I will wait for Sunday at AYL.

At least I already know it has to be AYL this week, late train from the sticks and no N-Line, so absolutley no point trying to kill myself getting to the East. L said the next time I did backbends with her she would try and get me to stand on my own, hope it happens.