Archive for May, 2013

Good morning Mongolia

May 29, 2013

And Kuwait, Algeria, Chad, Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu and a few other places that you wouldn’t normally think of as Ashtanga strongholds. I was quite surprised at some of the countries from where people read this blog, most of you are in the top 3 of USA, UK or india which is no surprise, but If you are practising in the Genghis Khan Shala in downtown Ulan Bator or reading and lurking in some of these other more remote Ashtanga backwaters make a comment and say hi.

I’ve tentatively started to do some practice again, mixing in the physiotherapy exercises as I go, even getting my hands two inches off my back in Prasarita C! The hardest part is warming up, I can’t do Surya’s or stretch in downward dog. I can do most of seated up to the Mari’s, but am still a while away from my left arm circumnavigating my left knee. I still have to miss out the fun stuff Bhuja , Kurmasana and Supta K. Baddha Konasana is back, but I need a squishing now to get the nose back on the mat. AYL soon I reckon. For closing I’ve taken to squatting in place of Pasasana, doing some Kino lunges then Salabhasana which is back to being what it was Pre fracture, then Ustrasana and Laghu Vajrasana to try and get some of the connections back, before some cross arm hanging, but need Louise to get me any further. But at least it’s something.

Thanks Rachel for the photo

A few years ago I went to practice with Dawn at Insabina, a lovely spot in the hills near Rome. There was a beautiful, friendly albino Cat there called Fuzzo who seemed to instinctively know who were the cat lovers, he followed me around, spent hours on my lap and even came into class. I would have loved to take him home. Well today i found out Fuzzo is still there, still going in to the classes and still seeking out the cat loving yogis who go there. As you can see he has mastered Savasana!


Protocol and physio

May 23, 2013

My 13th physiotherapy session today, hopefully not unlucky! She has at last received some notes from the Consultant about my rehab and what she is allowed to do and how soon she can do it . She tests my range of motion each week, but any improvement she can see is infinitessamly small to be invisible from where I’m seeing it.

After she showed me my new movements, which are tiny but soon become very uncomfortable we moved on to passive therapy, I lay there and she tortures me! Some of her treatment is very gentle, before she then moved on to starting to slowly move my arm outwards for the first time, shit that hurt and luckily she soon stopped, hopefully next week will be better and less painful. But like in practice it’s a case of finding that edge without crossing the line.

As well as what therapy should happen the “Protocol” also has notes about how long rehabilitation should take, which only goes to show how far I still have to go, these notes include

*”Most patients can tolerate occasional work at shoulder level 4-6 months after surgery”. Nope not yet I can’t!
*”Return to heavy lifting or overhead use may require 6-12 months”. handstands at Christmas then, maybe!


May 13, 2013

The good news after three hours today of sitting around in Fracture Clinic is that the fracture is healing well, you have to look hard at the x-ray to see the join, the metalwork is good and I have some movement and am allowed out of the sling when I’m sitting around watching TV etc. the Consultant said its basically over to the Physiotherapist now.


Looking good

However it’s still going to be a very long job, Mr Consultant signed me off for at least another two months and possibly longer. The problem is the Subscapularis muscle or more specifically the tendon that joins it to the Humerus, this is the muscle that got mucked about with during the operation. The arm can only move outwards by 20 degrees or so and not far vertically and ONLY the physiotherapist is supposed to do it with me passively laying there while she does it. I have to wait for her to tell me when I can do it myself and it won’t be for a while.


Subscapularis tendon that needs to heal ( photo taken from here )

The Subscapularis is essential for lifting and for overhead sports such as tennis or swimming or in my case lifting the arms in to Surya A or landing dropbacks and all the other fun stuff I miss doing.


I thought summer was at least coming, but the wind, hail and rain are back blowing the blossom off my trees. I’m keeping warm reading the prospectus of Abby’s TT, which she has asked if I was interested in doing. I’ve never thought about teaching, I once covered the beginners Ashtanga at the local place when the teacher was sick.

5 months later

May 7, 2013

Five months since I was last able to practice my full list and seemingly still nowhere near being able to do it again. And there I was thinking I was making progress in March at least going back to the Shala and feeling like I was doing something with Louise’s help.

The rehab is a very slow process, so far I’m allowed only very gentle pendular swings, sawing and chopping movements and the physiotherapist does passive abduction and elevation, where I just lay there and have to tell her when to stop. She tells me I’ve also lost movement/rotation in my wrist through all the time I’ve been in my poly sling.

The sling is also having a detrimental effect on my shoulders and neck as well, so she’s added in some posture exercises, though again these are very gentle movements.

Progress is necessarily slow for reasons, because of the muscle they had to remove/replace during the operation and the Physio doesn’t want to push this until she knows its at least beginning to heal, but how do you tell. Also she was sent information about the surgery and what needs to happen, but the handwriting is so appalling, yes I know I can’t talk, but its impossible to read what the Consultant has written and so the physiotherapist is reluctant to push my rehab. She has actually asked me to ask some questions at Fracture Clinic next week so that she knows what she is allowed to do.

I never thought that 5 months later I would still be nowhere near being able to work again or go to practice. As teacher Cat said there is still breath and Bandha, but everything else is turning to mush with a lack of meaningful activity and hours watching box sets while drinking tea and munching biscuits.

I had expected to be looking forward to a week in Spain with Dena at the end of June, but can’t see that happening, next on the list Kino in London in August, that could be too soon at this slow rate of progress or led primary with Sharath at the end of August. Looking like another year to write off at this rate. Christmas at Purple Valley is looking likely.