Archive for September, 2013

Tentative assisted backbends

September 29, 2013

The Shala was surprisingly super empty when I arrived, but within a half hour people were having to start in the Finishing Room. I seem to always arrive as the earlier batches have gone and before the next big batch arrives, suits me, I got my window spot in the back corner. This is my new favourite spot, as it gives me a wall behind to help with my re emerging Urdva Dhanurasana.

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Quiet Shala street

So jumping back turned out to not be a one day wonder, though I noticed I seem to favour the right side as I go back, quite understandable. Loads of assistance in standing in the quiet Shala. Taking care with the jumping back actually slowed things down. After binding all the Mari’s on my own, with C taken further, Supta K got bound both ends, Louise lifted my feet and made it a much deeper forward bend, it’s fun being able to do that again, I could just about lift in to the Titibhasana exit, but my arm couldn’t manage the Bhakasana manoeuvre to jump back.

My 2nd series asanas are coming along nicely, lovely assist in Salabhasana B, Louise pulling my shoulders back to deepen the thoracic bend. Bhekasana is coming too.

Backbends are still a way from coming back, Urdva Dhanurasana against the wall, once up I try and move the hands towards the feet, away from being jammed against the wall, but the left hand just slides back, it’s a combination of lack of strength and lack of range of motion that’s stopping me doing UD.

Having a wall lets me play hang (drop) backs, I can get a long way on my own now, I can control it and come back up. Louise had watched me and this week came across to just do assisted cross arm half ways, but after 3 of those she told me to keep going back, keeping it in the legs as much as possible, straightish arms, look for the floor and finger touch before bringing me back up. Now that was FUN. Next week she reckons we may even try to gently land.

Jump backs back!

September 28, 2013

Back to TLC this morning, steady practice in the not overly warm to begin with Loft. Lots of great assistance, binding Mari C and D, a real deepening of Supta K, even if my fingers couldn’t find each other, Phillipa lifting my feet for the exit. Pasasana assisted bind on both sides.

The Vinyasa between sides and asanas has graduated since June when I first got back on my mat, from walking back and forth, without a hint of Chaturanga, to in the last few weeks lifting the feet to cross, repositioning the hands in front of the feet and then jumping back, using my knees in Chaturanga. Going forward again is just a jump to the hands, taking the weight through the hands to jump through isn’t yet possible. Today I had been using the careful reposition method to jump back, but as I lifted out of Supta K for some reason I automatically just jumped back through my arms. My arm didn’t break, it didn’t even hurt, though I had to bail on to my knees from the Chaturanga position I had landed in, but it just goes to show how much muscle memory there is, even after 9 months, my body seemed to know it was ok to go back to jumping back. I think the weight moving away from the shoulder makes jumping back easier than the jumping forward and through where the shoulders are a kind of pendulum.

Backbends with my hands jammed against the wall, not much progress, I can push up, but the left hand ends up at a weird angle,,it seems the strength is coming back, but the range of motion still has a long way to go. But at least jumping back is back.

Openings

September 22, 2013

Another two Shala days in a row, as I have to use up my TLC pass before they cancel the Saturday Mysore. TLC wasn’t that warm to start with and it took a little while to get going, though the clunkyness seemed to last all the way through. As usual lots of great assists from Phillipa and little bits of advice after a chat about the shoulder progress and what the physio has me doing, P tried me on an arm balance to see if that would help my Deltoid, I told her I didn’t do those kind of arm balances and she replied that’s because i don’t do 3rd series! My lopsided sit bones coming in for comment and the way my left side lower back is compensating for what my still recovering shoulder can’t yet do. Probably the cause of last weeks sciatic flare up. I needed her help to bind Mari D, but once I’m in it I can stay. Supta K fingers united (just) and feet crossed, lift up and a better exit. Brilliant Pasasana bind and my other intermediates before this weeks new trick. My left hand will take the position by the ear for Urdva Dhanurasana but won’t stay there when I try to lift, after weeks of UD on bricks and Bolsters I can now put my hands against the skirting board and push up in to a backbend, even though my left hand tries to climb up the wall, but that’s another little breakthrough.

Sunday another tortuous stupid o’clock bus ride in to the city, but it turned out to be worth it. After Saturdays adjustments, doing practice in the heat of AYL it all came together, energy, flow and being really open, you just know when you’re on it. I was amazed how quick I was when I saw the clock in the finishing room. Some super Louise assists in the standing twists as well as the usual PPC and UHP.

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Hot!

Seated are virtually all back, though still no chance of Chatutanga, but Ardha Badha bound both sides and in that heat the joy of binding Mari D on my own, I knew I was being watched and assistance may come, but once my fingers docked on their own the potential assistance disappeared. AND then to put the cherry on the cake, the sweat and heat and general openness allowed me to at last bind Supta Kurmasana, hands and feet on my own, woo hoo 🙂

I’ve started to notice that as well as putting the strength back I’m gradually retraining my left arm, not only to do what it could before the 7th December, but also to do some things it couldn’t. Ardha Badha Padmot I didn’t used to be able to touch my foot, let alone grab my left toes with my left fingers, but having lost all the muscle I can now do that and I hope as the muscle and strength return I will be able to continue to do it. I haven’t been doing Bhekasana either, my final official given posture, but I’ve started to experiment now I can pull on the left arm to some extent. Pre 7/12 I couldn’t turn the left hand over and push down on the foot, but as my left arm is starting from scratch and relearning to do everything again I found that it is slowly willing to take the position, if only for a couple of seconds, I can’t push down because there is no strength, but I’m hoping as strength comes back that my arm and hand will continue to be able to get in to the position. The arm must be more malleable without the encumberance of muscle.

It’s been interesting through all the frustration, to see what came back (relatively) easily and what the most difficult challenges are going to be. Apart from no Chaturanga, there is still no chance of Sirsasana, Urdva Dhanurasana actually feels possible even if it is still impossible.

If TLC had a practice temperature like AYL I’m sure more progress would come, but doing this series of double headers has certainly moved things along.

And to top off a nice weekend, post yoga brunch with Rosey and Helen.

Grinding Acromion

September 19, 2013

Luckily I had an appointment with the massage therapist the day after being pushed and pulled around at Fracture Clinic. My shoulder needed it and there was the little matter of the sciatic thing starting to annoy me again. After she had pummelled my shoulder she took about 5 seconds to find the lump in my backside, owwww, she told me it was located deep in the Gluteus Minimus muscle, not the Piriformis and this lumpy knot was pressing down on the sciatic nerve, to prove the point she pressed hard and I could feel it go the whole way down the back of my leg. I think it was a case of getting it attended to just in time, even if it did mean 20 minutes of very uncomfortable frictioning, kneeding and thumbs and elbows pressing in to the lump to break it up, but a day later and it’s feels a lot better.

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She then checked the other side where I thought there wasn’t a problem, I hadn’t experienced any discomfort, but that side apparently does have the same little lump, but nowhere near to the same extent, but I need to keep a watch on it. I just need to work out what it is I’m doing that makes the knot(s) start to build.

Therapy part 3 this week was the physiotherapist, she’s pleased with progress, but as she says its still not right and the Doctors are right to consider more injections or the arthroscopic clear out. The shoulder has little control in its movement and even though the range of motion has improved, there is no muscle, which is why I can now stand a teacher moving my arm to where it needs to go though I can’t move it there myself. She examined the clonk which turns out to be where the Acromion and Clavicle meet, the clavicle moves slightly under the Acromion and then moves back in line, she says they may address this if they do the arthroscopic surgery.

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Grinding Acromion

She said my Deltoid muscle is virtually non existent, probably why I still can’t push up in to UD, so she had me try a new exercise which looked very easy, I say looked as I failed abysmally with her 1/2kg weight! I have to lay on my good right side, the left elbow tucked in to my side while trying to hold the weight and move my left arm upwards while keeping the elbow tucked in and trying to keep the shoulder in a good position, ie not coming forward. I could barely raise the tiny weight and after a few goes my arm was shattered. Half a kilo seems like nothing, but it may as well be a ton weight just now.

Oh well at least I now know even more about the anatomy of my arse and the bit above my elbow, even if it was a scary thought that when she started talking about the Acromion I actually knew what she was talking about!

Ganesh and Anchors

September 16, 2013

The bi monthly trip to Fracture Clinic provided another nugget of information. After testing how much the arms range of motion has improved compared to before, its improved by around 30 degrees after the injections, the Doctor showed me the ultrasound scan and the internal stitches. But these stitches or sutures are actually meant to stay there and not dissolve as they are “anchor stitches”. These are the stitches that rejoined my Subscapularis muscle to my Humerus bone and its a clever piece of surgery. There is something like a screw or DIY raw plug that is inserted or screwed in to the bone, that has an eyelet on the top, through which the permanent suture runs before being sewn in to the muscle, thus “anchoring” the muscle to the bone. This lets the muscle start to rejoin the bone on its own, eventually as now allowing the arm to move outwards and do moves like UHP.

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Not sure which type I have.

So the internal sutures stay. Although there has been improvement it’s still nowhere near where it should be, so they want to continue with the physiotherapy and massage for another 3 months, at which point they hope normality may have returned, if not then it could be more injections or the nuclear option of arthroscopic surgery to free the shoulder joint.

The Doctor was from India and remarked on the little Ganesh I have on my pendant, he said if Ganesh doesn’t clear the obstacle in my shoulder the arthroscopic surgery certainly will, just hope Ganesh gets his act together soon, as the next Clinic appointment in December will be exactly one year from the first one!

Mari D is back

September 15, 2013

Another weekend of double Shala practices, mainly because TLC are going to cancel Saturday mysore from mid October, Boo hiss, so i need to use up my class pass before they do, I had planned to use the pass in November when there are two Sunday Moon days. So Saturday at TLC with Phillipa, no bad thing getting more assistance at this stage, as my arm starts to find more range of motion, even if it still only has the strength of a match stick.

Standing is pretty much back now, though nobody has yet taken my hands to the floor in PPC. the flow is back, no thinking about where to put my arm, it still needs adjusting in Trikonasana and Parsvakonasana etc, but at least it can be taken there, even if it still lacks the power and control to go on its own.

Little break throughs or is that break backs are happening in seated, I can semi jump back and forward now, which helps the flow after months of stepping. Phillipa bound Mari D for me again, once I’m in it it’s comfortable. Then another accidental breakthrough as she lifted my crossed feet in Supta Kurmasana and I found myself in a two second Titibhasana. My body is starting to do things automatically again. An assisted bound Pasasana, strangely my arm is finding that easier than going round the knee in Mari D. Closing backbends are still a mash up, but I added in Ustrasana and got a great assist to open the upper back, before UD with a bolster and wall drop backs. Consistency is coming.

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Sunshine Savasana

Sunday a near 2 hour tortuous bus ride, I read a chapter of the BG on the way, that’s my 1% theory for the day and finally arrived at AYL for the 99% practice part. Glad Louise seems to have the heating cranked up on a cold morning, to the point that I actually saw steam rising off me! Lots of help in standing, it’s gentle but very effective pressure, moving my hip in Trikonasana and Parsvakonasana and love the way she seemed to release my upper back before stretching my arms in PPC.

Seated provided two surprises, the first side of Mari D I got my arm round and was searching for my fingers before it all fell apart as my arm slipped off my knee, I thought assistance may come, but realised they were otherwise engaged, so abandon or try again? I tried again and after a lot of wriggling and for the first time in 9 months a couple of my left fingers got to grips with a couple of my right fingers and I was bound in Mari D, on my own, unassisted 🙂

Surprise number two came in Supta K, back to my copyright entry method of forward bending to get my shoulders under my thighs before lowering down, feet crossed, arms much further round, fingers tantalisingly touching, thankfully someone joined them up, thanks whoever that was and I was bound fully and staying there in Supta K, I was tempted just to stay there and call it a day. That’s the benefit of getting help two days running, on day two things start to happen, the body remembers and in that heat it feels safe to stretch the extra millimetres needed to join the dots.

After my bit of second I noticed a couple of the brick shape blocks in the cupboard, so I was able to do some block assisted Urdva Dhanurasanas, doing UD off the floor still feels completely impossible. Standing backbends are really coming along, no idea what they look like from the outside, but they feel controlled and deep and the temptation to plop down to the floor is becoming irresistible, though so far I’ve resisted the temptation, but it feels like I’m going to be able to drop back before I can do a UD off the floor.

A super, hot, sweaty practice. Every Sunday is better than the last.

A week of therapy coming up, Fracture Clinic on Monday to hear the results of the Ultrasound scans and injections, ie do they still need to do the keyhole procedure. Followed by the massage therapist on Tuesday and the Physiotherapist on Thursday, good job most of that is on the NHS as finding a job isn’t progressing anywhere near as well as my practice.

Lifecentre, back at last

September 7, 2013

Back to Philippa at TLC for the first time since December, a chance to test the effects of the shoulder injections in a quiet Shala. Only 3 of us to begin with, so help from the start after P asked if it was ok to adjust me. After she assisted Prasarita C I think she knew it was safe to proceed.

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The Lifecentre

The arm/shoulder does seem to have more range of pain free movement than it had pre needle and P’s great assists got me further in quite a few postures without any pain, though some were quite intense, but I know to go with it, the only pose I had to bail out of the assist was when she tried to bind my hands in Supta K. She had already produced the miracle of managing to bind me in both sides of Mari C and D, at least i know its possible again with help, hopefully it wont be too long before i can do it again on my own. The arm just needed to be taken there, it can’t get far enough round the knee of its own, but being assisted, it was fine. My unorthodox exit from Bhuja gave her a laugh, she was assisting next door, so I was extricating myself one arm at a time! I had warned her its gets iffy after Navasana!

I know its a challenging one, some teachers, naming no names, have a habit of knocking you over when assisting Pasasana, but P supports to keep a stable squat position before taking the arms round and woo hoo bound both sides, ok the first side my fingers were hanging on for dear life, but at least they can pull in to the grip, once a couple of fingers get together I can stay there.

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I had to use a Bolster to get in to a kind of Urdva Dhanurasana, my hand can get the position by my ear, but as soon as I try to push up, which I can’t, the hand lifts, P advised the Gomukhasana exercise and doing Ustrasana to open the upper back. It’s good to get other ideas of ways to progress, different teachers see different things. She advised Chaturanga on my knees to keep the pressure out of the shoulder and don’t worry about Sirsasana.

It was great to be back at TLC with Phillipa, I’ve missed going there, although there is a rumour the Saturday class may be for the chop, I hope not, it’s so good getting advice and adjustment in that environment where the teacher has more time, while my recovery still has a way to go. The injections do seem to have increased the range of motion before it hurts, both self powered and assisted, so there’s hopefully some light at the end of a still long tunnel.

Back a week

September 4, 2013

I’ve been back almost a week from Copenhagen. Back to the familiar surroundings and faces at AYL on Sunday, I wondered if it would be either rammed full with post Sharath enthusiasm or fairly empty from post Sharath knackeredness! It turned out to be the latter. Still enough people to heat the place up though for a pretty good practice, Mari C could be back soon on the first side, after a week of daily help my left arm is not so averse to the idea of going around my right knee. All seems to be coming (back) up to Salabhasana B. played backbends down the wall, then Tom carried on from where Kino and Tim had left off, dropping me back to the floor, finger touch, before bringing me back up, so much fun doing that again, though doing it solo could be a work in progress for a while. As I headed for the Finishing Room Louise stopped me to say she could see how much better it all looked, compared to just a couple of weeks ago. Daily Shala practice with assistance makes such a difference.

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Is there a “Gita 4 idiots” version?

After practice time for a quick croissant before heading to Mel’s for the Philosophy Discussion Group, this month we talked about Asana, why we do it and what the benefits are. Next month it’s the Bhagavad Gita, need to find a dummies guide as I’ve never read it!

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No pain no gain

As its been 3 weeks since the non joined up NHS did my Ultrasound scan, but didn’t have anyone qualified to do the Glenohumeral injection, I decided to call them as no appointment was waiting on the doormat when i got home as I’d expected. Think they had forgotten me, as five minutes later they suddenly found a free appointment for the next morning! So off to the Hospital for another Ultrasound scan, still those pesky internal stitches are not dissolving. This time I saw a Radiologist who was qualified to do the injection, turned out to be more than one, a couple of nasty stinging anaesthetic ones to numb the shoulder before he inserted the big long one to pump the cortisone in to the shoulder capsule. Weird sensation as I could feel the needle and solution in my shoulder. I hope this is a case of no pain no gain, so far it’s as the physiotherapist predicted, feels like I’ve been kicked in the shoulder by a Donkey!