Archive for December, 2012

So that was 2012

December 31, 2012

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A few days by the seaside to end 2012, Pattaya certainly lives up to it’s reputation, but it also has some nicer areas. I wouldn’t have found the nicer places without Steve and his wife Nok’s assistance and they also kindly arranged my accommodation, which with my fractured arm made life a lot easier.

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Yesterday 8 of us made a trip out to a Buddhist temple outside the city, people attend for a blessing for good luck when they travel or when something is going on in their life or to wish good luck for the new year.

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You start off by buying a bucket of alms to give to the monks, then sit and wait until it’s your turn to move forward in front of the row of monks. About 30 people moved forward and the monks started to chant, at some point a big sheet covered us, then a piece of string surrounded everyone. Finally the monks used a type of broom to flick water over us before coming round and tapping everyone on the head for good luck. Then you get up and go outside and pour your little cup of water over a sacred tree. I’ve no idea of all the meaning, I just hope 2013 mends my arm, gets me back on my mat and maybe Mysore again.

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Temple folk

Fireworks have been going off for days, tonight is the big one, new years eve. I have just come back from the beach watching literally thousands of Chinese lanterns being launched in to the sky, it’s quite a sight, the fireworks are becoming deafening, not to mention bloody dangerous.

Well its not quite been the holiday i planned all those months ago, but being in the warm sunshine for nearly three weeks, paddling in the sea and relaxing certainly beats being at home in the cold with a broken arm.

Happy New year

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Lanters

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Christmas day in Chiang Mai

December 25, 2012

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Christmas day 2011 I got up at stupid o’clock, did yoga at 4:30am,drank Chai and spent the rest of the day with yogi folk eating, drinking and enjoying the sunshine.

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Christmas day 2012 I had planned to get up at something approaching reasonable o’clock, go to yoga and hang out with the yogi’s. Well the broken arm obviously screwed part one of the plan, but the rest of the day has not been much different to 2011. Liz invited me to the Chiang Mai yogi breakfast/brunch at Imm Aim cafe. And what a surprise as Joycee from Mysore walked in to the cafe along with everyone else. A very long chatty breakfast, followed by a visit to Bakerista Bakery for cake.

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By now it was time for lunch, so a red truck ride with Joycee to the Pae Gate and a nice lunch followed by Chai at an Indian place she had discovered, more reminders of Mysore.

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Amazing how the days are passing, especially by the time I’d had my massage, I came outside again and it was already dark.

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The arm is settling, though it catches me out pretty regularly doing something totally innocuous, take this evening, I had saved some nice chocolate in my Hotel fridge, but as I tried to break the first square off I couldn’t do it and my arm soon painfully told me.

Merry Christmas

I went to the Shala

December 23, 2012

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Acrobats

This morning I was awake and decided to go to the Shala, just to watch and reconnect, I’m missing it now. Sunday is my Shala day after all. I got there as most of the half dozen students were doing their closing postures. I walked in the door and my glasses immediately steamed up, I found a seat in the corner and just watched as Liz assisted the backbends and headstands and then one by one they took Savasana.

I hadn’t been expecting to get on a mat, but with most of the students in Savasana Liz asked me what, if anything I had tried to do. I explained I had done nothing, as even trying a simple forward bend hurt my arm. She wasn’t deterred, she had me start with simple squats, then stretching the good arm, before balance leg raises, but no catching the toe UHP style allowed and then leaning backwards, I was surprised how far I can still bend backwards, but not too far, I think my legs are going to have to relearn how to engage, but it felt nice to stretch and sweat and just be in that room. So nice of Liz to invite me to watch and be part.

Yesterday I went to see the Chinese acrobats who are in town, they are truly bendy, but very young. At one point they all dropped back in to Urdva Dhanurasana, then raised one leg to twirl a hula hoop at high speed, must give that a go sometime!

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Night Wat

Now I’ve found the perfect massage place who allow for my arm, I’m having a treatment every day, this along with the sling upgrade has meant better nights and much fewer painkillers.

Taking it easy

December 21, 2012

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14 days since my last practice , luckily I’m doing a lot of walking around Chiang Mai otherwise I would be turning in to the Fat Ashtangi. My arm still pretty soon let’s me know when it’s in the wrong position. I’ve been forced to just take it very easy, trying the yogi’s suggestions of foot massage and even paying someone to cut my nails, mainly because I can’t do it myself.

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Donald Duck

The city has lots of Wat’s, shops and Spa’s. I found one Wat where a beautiful gold Buddha shares the grounds with a giant Donald Duck, one way to get the kids to go I suppose!

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Wishing my arm to get better.

Another Wat had one of those trees you leave a wish on, I bought my little gold leaf and wished my arm better. The other morning a 7 year old Japanese girl came up to me and said in an american accent “hope your arm get better soon”!

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Colourful Lanterns

I joined the yogi’s today for their after led class brunch at The Butter is Better bakery and diner, nice to feel part of the yoga community. Super Cinnamon and raisin buns and decent Tea, the thai’s don’t always get the concept of boiling water and tea.

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Butter is Better

The afternoons here have been scorching, so I’ve tried to find some shade to read or watch the world go by. By chance yesterday I came across seated massage outside Starbucks, after explaining the broken arm they got to work and last night I had the best nights sleep since I got here.

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Khunka massage.

Today I thought I would try this again, my arm and shoulder muscles were so much more comfortable. I was reading the blurb outside Khunka Spa when someone came out who spoke really good English. I explained that I can’t lay on my front and that my arm needs support, but that my shoulders, neck and back need help. They came up with a great plan, sitting me on a stool facing a wall. Large pillow on my lap for my arm, another large pillow upright on my lap against the wall for me to put my head against. Then thirty minutes of undoing, the set up meaning they could really press hard, but my broken arm not feeling a thing. Brilliant, heat and treatment like that have to be good. It’s so cheap too (less than two quid), which means it’s not a treat but can be done daily. The added bonus being not having to take the painkillers which annoy my guts.

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Melly clistmas!

Special Assistance

December 18, 2012

It was a long hard journey to Chiang Mai, though made easier by the “Special Assistance”, Thai Air helpfully came up with. After I had checked in the Thai Air service guy saw I was making hard work of putting everything away, I had stood for half of the tube journey to the Airport and my arm had had enough, and he asked if I wanted help, they sat me down as they made a call and ten minutes later a fellow from Terminal 3 Special Assistance turns up with a wheelchair! He wheeled me up to Security, where miraculously I by passed the large queue, though the guy with his Wand was a bit over zealous pulling my arm away to wand my chest, f*** that hurt, do I really look like a terrorist? I got to sit in the Special Room just off Duty Free with free newspapers and a coffee shop the other side until my flight was called. At which point they put me in a big motorised Buggy and drove me to the Gate. First on to the plane.

11 hours later Bangkok, only 90 degrees warmer than London, a 3 hour wait for the connection north. Again Thai Air made sure I was one of the first to get on the plane and the added bonus of 2 unfilled seats next to me, but not a pleasant hour as something had set off nausea. As we landed in Chiang Mai the Stewardess told me to stay put, Thai Air again sat me in a Wheelchair and pushed me to the baggage collection, last bag off typically. They then arranged a taxi to take me to the Hotel, pushing me all the way out of the terminal to the taxi, it would have been a bloody long walk, so quite glad they did. Ten minutes later I’m at the Hotel. 10 out of 10 to Thai Air, I never expected that much assistance, but it was very gratefully received.

After a jet lagged nights sleep I wandered down to Soi 17 to see the Yoga Studio where I should have been practising. At least I got to share their after practice chat and a cup of tea. Great to see Liz,I had so looked forward to practising with her again after her great assists last year in Mysore. She said if I’m missing it to come and watch, I may do that, I need to find other ways to fill my time.

Humerus but not funny!

December 10, 2012

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My break, Osteopath and Nurse friends say it’s quite impressive!

A weekend of discomfort and lots of dozing thanks to one of the painkillers that just seems to send me to sleep within a few minutes of swallowing it. Back to Fracture Clinic today to see the Shoulder Man. I thought I was in for a very long wait when I used the automatic self check in terminal and it spewed out number 1034, but after half an hour my number came up, promoting me to the second waiting area. Twenty minutes later I saw a Doctor, who wanted to get another X-ray to see if anything had moved over the weekend, movement would equal pretty immediate surgery 😦

Painful X-ray as the Radiographer tried to get my arm in the right position, after a couple of goes she got the angle and photo she needed and I had a throbbing arm. Back up to the Doctor who confirmed nothing had moved. As you can see the break is just below the joint, pain occurs from the outside of the arm because of the break and the inside which I guess is a muscle or tendon. Making a slight wrong movement is enough to send excruciating pain down my arm, especially at night.

Q&A He confirmed what the Doctor in A&E said on Friday, it’s a 6 week recovery, if it doesn’t dislodge, this is the tricky part because they can’t put a cast on it and I have just this soft sling job to keep it in place 24/7, yep it stays on at night.

He asked what job I do and realised there is no way I can do it, resulting in a 6 week “Unfit for work” Certificate.

The $1,000,000 question. Can I go on holiday to Thailand on Sunday? After consulting head Orthopaedic man the answer is yes, yahoo, bells, whistles. So it’s sunshine and heat, not TV boredom in the UK winter. It is just going to have to be a very very relaxed trip.

However on my return I already have my X-ray appointment, this could still mean surgery, a screw or plate, if they do it I’m actually going to ask them to insert a spring so I can bounce back up from dropbacks 🙂

I just need to work out how little luggage I can get away with taking. The airline have been helpful, sorting me out a window seat and extra pillows to protect it in flight.

Broke my arm!

December 7, 2012

Yoga is over until next year. Walking to work it had started to snow, I slipped over crashing down on my left side. I got myself up, nobody else was around and carried on walking to work as it was nearer than going back up the hill to home. As I dried out and warmed up by the radiator I had trouble getting my little day sack off containing my lunch, realising this wasn’t just bruising, unlike a couple of weeks ago’s Urdva Dhanurasana crash landing.

Off to the local A&E as the pain became a bit the wrong side of unbearable. Only a 20 minute wait, I thought they were going to have to cut my T shirt and jumper off before the Doctor could take a look. By this time my arm was swelling up and her first thought was dislocation, but the X Ray showed the socket was fine, the damage was a clean break in the top of the Humerus. That’s the first x-ray I’ve had in a few years, the technology has changed a bit!

The break is in a non plasterable place, all they could do was put my arm in a sling type support and dose me up with painkillers and send me home.

I have to report to Fracture Clinic on Monday, I’m supposed to fly to Thailand a week on Sunday for yoga, well asana practice is out, but I would rather convalesce in the Thai heat and sunshine, than be bored out of skull in front of the tedious Xmas TV in the cold UK winter.

So it’s been a bit of a week.

Three in a row

December 5, 2012

It’s been a 5 busy days, 3 Shala practices in a row, though with a two day gap between numbers two and three, Shala Christmas party, 007 and giving my 5th Mysore talk this year.

Saturday with Philippa at TLC, as usual lots of good assistance with the small practice group. Sunday as usual at AYL, hot, sweaty practice, good intermediate, Louise again got both hands going the right way in Bhekasana. Still too much thud on landing drop backs, ie too much weight in the arms on landing, coming up unassisted isn’t happening, but a nice practice .

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Euston Christmas Tree

Sunday practice followed by the Shala Christmas party, as instructed we all arrived “sweaty and glowing”, great to get a chance to talk to people I usually only see in passing, actually putting names to some who I have known by sight for a couple of years. Also catching up with some who came in from further afield, Bella from Oxford and D up from Brighton. Not seen that many Authorised teachers in one place since Mysore.

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Art Deco cinema

Monday finally saw the latest 007 at our local 1930’s art deco cinema. As well as the usual adverts that precede the film we also had a girl playing the Cello as well as the cinema owner come on stage to introduce the film.

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Setting up

Tuesday evening in Guildford I gave my 5th talk on Mysore this year. Amazed at the turn out on a cold winter evening. While setting up, the Hall Manager asked me how popular i thought my talk would be, he was trying to gauge how many chairs to put out. He put out the 80 chairs stored in the Hall, then ended up having to go down in to the depths to find another 20 or so to accommodate the 100+ plus people who came. This was the longest talk I’ve ever done, two 50 minute slots. A super receptive audience who enjoyed their evening going by the questions they asked at half time and the end and the generous round of applause. This was actually the third time I have given a talk in Guildford.

By the time the Q&A was over it was getting late, so I ended up staying overnight in London. The added bonus being another week day practice at AYL this morning. It ended up being a bit of a sweaty slog, my legs were aching before I started. Four teachers/assistants on duty, so helped in Triko B, PPC, Utita Hasta, then Paschimot, Tiriang Mukha, Mari C, Supta K in seated.

Hamish got me bound in Pasasana, he’s really good at that one, before getting through to an unassisted crap Bhekasana, Louise was busy elsewhere.

I had noticed H standing on a chair putting the clock right, so when I got to backbends I thought I was making good time. Urdva Dhanurasana wasn’t bad, but I just couldn’t get my thighs to engage to control dropping back, H came and did assisted ones. After backbends I picked my mat up and went in to the “Finishing Room” to do closing and noticed the time on that rooms clock, which showed my practice had been nowhere near as fast as I thought! Think the Shala needs a new clock!

Nice to get in a third Shala practice after a busy couple of busy days off the mat.

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My Bugs

My talented niece Becky turned 20 today, she drew this Bugs Bunny just for me.