Archive for December, 2013

Ganesh had his chance

December 31, 2013

Lanterns of hope

It feels like 2013 never started and has been a complete waste, in stagnation, pain and frustration. Last New Year’s Eve I sat on a Thai beach watching thousands of Lanterns fill the sky. I still had hope then that the Doctors were correct in telling me that my broken arm would be fixed in 8 weeks time and I would be back to work by March. Well 52 weeks later after surgery, physiotherapy, massage, injections and Pilates I’m not much further forward, I’ve lost my job through incapacity and despite a lot of effort I’m no nearer getting another.

Back in September an Indian Doctor spotted the little Ganesh on my pendant and told me if Ganesh doesn’t shift my obstacles to lifting my arm, that arthroscopic surgery would. So that’s where I am, I spent this New Year’s Eve morning in Hospital having my next pre surgery assessment, Ganesh had his chance, now it’s back to medicine.


The surgery won’t be until early April, so another 3 months of stagnation, then depending what they find another long period of recovery. I had a plan to go to Mysore next summer, hoping my practice would be back well before then, but knowing what a slog recovery has been since last April’s surgery, I seriously doubt that now. If I go I want to be at least back to where I was, Bhekasana and standing up from backbends.

I’m practising again and magically bound Supta K on my own at home the other day, but back in the real world my left arm still can’t get above the shoulder or lift my giant tea mug.

2013 never got off the ground and 2014 feels like its on hold, my passport is feeling neglected, covered in dust at the bottom of the drawer with a wodge of 180 Rupees stuffed inside that were earmarked for my post practice chai at Amruth.

So new year and new moon coincide, this new year I won’t wish, expect or hope for anything, Vairagya, what happens happens.

Wishing you all a Happy New year


Keeping on

December 22, 2013

Back to the physiotherapist with the news that they want to operate again in the new year. She says as things stand it’s the best option, I’m doing all I can with her exercises and although strength is improving, the range of motion has at best plateaued since the end of October and to be honest has gone backwards. It’s become more painful and “stuck” with the damp, cold weather.

Physio told me not to slow down her exercises now the surgery is going to happen, she’s told me to keep on going with all the physio, do yoga and if that doesn’t improve the range of motion by the time my name gets to the top of the surgery list, at least I’ll be as fit and strong as possible for the operation, which should help with yet another long recovery.

So keeping on with the yoga. With AYL now closed it was back to the local Shala this morning, we practiced to the accompaniment and distraction of Carol singers giving it their all outside the next door supermarket!

Post yoga mince pies before heading home to go stir crazy for a week of Xmas tedium. I’ve run out of box sets, pity there’s not a pill you can take to send you to sleep on Xmas Eve and wake up on New Year’s Day, oh no forgot New Year’s Eve I get to spend in Hospital having my pre op assessment.

Merry Christmas.

Touch down!

December 18, 2013

Covent Garden baubles

Surprisingly for a weekday at AYL I didn’t actually have to wait to hear the words “one more” this morning, a spot was waiting for me. Yep I escaped the domestic issues and got in for one last Shala practice before they close for the holidays on Friday. It took a while for my mind to stop thinking of all the stuff going on at home, my surgery to come, as well as the drishte distraction of the girl next to me doing some incredible looking 3rd series arm balances.

Louise seems to have a good handle on ways to stretch my arm and make it work without causing it any unnecessary suffering, Trikonasana and Prasarita C to stretch it out, before her deft touch binds me in Mari D. Hamish got me deeper into Supta K, fingers no longer hanging on for dear life, but tightly joined, feet crossed and I managed to lift up into Titibhasana, though transitioning to Bhakasana still isn’t happening, though I can kind of do Bhakasana. Garbha a complete bound circle without the wall getting in the way.

My 5 intermediate postures are really returning, Pasasana binding, Krounchasana without feeling like I’m going sideways, Hamish got me to put my hands on the floor for Salabhasana A, Bhekasana on my own, before the backbends. Two UD’s with my strap, then two without 🙂

Then the big surprise, rather than Louise, Hamish came over to do assisted dropbacks, the first two he got me to put my hands down, putting some weight into my arm for the first time in 12 months, though just for a second before pinging me back up. Number three on to the floor and then he tells me to “walk in”, what? “Walk,walk!” And OMG I managed to walk the left hand in just a little, wow touch down. What a nice way to end what has been a practice year of struggle and pain.

One more!

December 17, 2013


The end of the AYL yoga year is nearly here, what a year it’s been with broken bones and surgery and the still no end in sight recovery. Sunday was a lovely practice, a not so busy Shala but still enough heat for the steam to rise from places with seemingly no outlet. The usual lovely assists, a bound Supta K and a deeply squished Baddha Konasana. Technical hitch with Garbha P. I was aware of the person next to me doing Parsva Dhanurasana, so I was over a bit to give her room, but too far over as I got half way round and found myself jammed against the wall! No matter, unknot move over and do the other 180 degrees. Not quite as spectacular as the yogini who was next to me at the local Shala on Friday, after getting round the 360 degrees, she gave it too much oomph in trying to come up into Kukutasana and went over the top landing on her head, I’ve never seen anyone do that before.

Louise helped me get Bhekasana on both sides again, my left arm and shoulder don’t mind that at all, though still just lack the strength to push the foot down, so Louise somehow manages to push my foot down with a knee while lifting my chest with her hands.
I had run out of energy by Urdva Dhanurasana, but surprisingly the assisted dropbacks felt like they had more control.
So that was the last Sunday practice of 2013

Rainy London

It may have been the last Sunday, but I’m going to sneak up for one more on Wednesday 🙂

I had plans to enjoy the city before the evening Shala Christmas party, but the weather was awful. The party was great, like last year putting names to people I see in passing, meeting people I have practised with elsewhere and chatting to friends I see regularly on the mat. There must have been 70+ people there and to think I could probably name 40 of them shows why AYL has become a second home and the place that keeps me sane.

Shala party at Tom’s place

So “one more” AYL practice to come, but on Monday I learned that 2014 is going to see me have to endure “one more” surgery on my shoulder. The Consultant said the improvement with strength is good, but the range of motion has plateaued to the point that he thinks, like the physiotherapist that something is trapped. But it could also be that as the muscles and tendons get larger as they get stronger, that the metalwork could be inhibiting their movement, so it’s not just going to be a keyhole operation to wash out the shoulder, it’s going to be a full general anaesthetic so they can remove the metalwork at the same time. They have to wait a year from the initial surgery to ensure the original fracture is solid, so by the time my number comes up with the 3-4 month waiting list my year will be up. If however a combination of the physiotherapy and Louise’s great assists can free up the shoulder between now and April then the surgery could be cancelled, but just in case I’m booked in for my second pre op assessment of the year on 31st December.

Steaming Elbows!

December 8, 2013

Red sky at night yogi delight

I would kind of expected to be steaming from the travel chaos of the last two days, that included suicides on the line, Cops chasing trespassers on the line and over running engineering work which they blamed on the suicide!

I finally got to AYL an hour late, the Shala was packed and I had to wait to hear Louise call “one more” before I could start properly, I’d done two Surya A’s in the Finishing Room before the call. Somehow despite being late I ended up between the same two beginners as I have the last two weeks, both said “good morning” as I rolled out my mat. All went well until Ardha Baddha Padmot where I lost my balance coming back up from the first side and not wishing to risk my still recovering left arm trying to save myself, I had to make an emergency plop down, landing on the back of my neighbours mat, while she was at the front laughing!

Help in the right places with seated, Tiriang Mukha evening me up and yet again Louise got me in to Mari D, I don’t know what she does that’s different to everyone else, but she has a knack and I end up easily, not to mention comfortably bound. One of the beginners got Bhuja last week and it was interesting to listen to Louise go through the posture with her again today, some reminders I needed about the cross of the feet and how to extricate yourself. Supta K finally bound both ends, the heat and Agi joining my fingers up, I must be near to doing it alone again. After the vinyasa I realised steam wasn’t just coming off my shirt but actually from my elbows, I’ve never noticed them do that before, so I decided to try a proper Garbha, with a quick spray to add to the sweat I got both arms the whole way through and completed a 360 for the first time in almost exactly a year! steaming elbows are the way to go o


Catherine’s chalk ball

Of course the steam can be a disadvantage too, but during last week I had chatted to Shala mate Catherine about the little chalk ball she uses on her hands and feet. As I got to closing she came over and gave me the ball to try, and wow hold the front page, I managed to hold both feet in Bhekasana and lift my chest, with the extra grip even my weak left hand and arm could hold on. I had actually talked to C about the hand traction in Urdva Dhanurasana, now I’m starting to push up without the wall I need to know my left hand isn’t going to fly out from under me. Well the chalk ball certainly helped, but it’s still the range of motion and being knackered by that stage of a Shala practice that stops me doing a proper UD, but it’s getting nearer.

Being late meant I wasn’t on the back wall today, so could only risk some careful hang backs before Louise came to do assisted dropbacks, apparently I’m veering to the right again as I go back, I’ve gotten out of the habit of putting my little towel in the middle of the mat behind me as a target. Still a way to go until I can land on my own, the strength to land isn’t far away, but until the range of motion improves and the hand can land nearer the feet again it’s still too dangerous, not that some of my dropbacks pre fracture were all that safe!

All week it’s been a case of doing what practice I can before hospital visiting, Mum is doing better, but like my dropbacks still a way to go.

£100 yoga mat, don’t think so!

Unhappy Humerus Birthday

December 6, 2013

This Friday in December 2012 was the one where I slipped over on the icy, sleety snow and snapped my Humerus in half, just below the Humeral head. I never dreamt that one year on I would still be in pain, movement restricted awaiting a decision on another operation to try and give me some freedom of movement. The physical problems are bad enough, but the social and mental problems almost weigh heavier, no job since July, despite over 40 applications, life on hold with no income and a mortgage that still needs to be paid along with all the other incessantly ever increasing bills. So no planning for holidays, workshops or anything remotely worth looking forward to,with no income to pay for it. Now more than ever it’s a case of waking up and going through the motions, trying to do my practice and lately hospital visiting, one day is much like the next.

I need a resolution of some kind with my arm and I need a job, even a part time one would do, but there’s no light at the end of either of those tunnels just now. Same sh*t every day.

Stress and Bhekasana coming

December 1, 2013

Another stressful week where practice keeps me sane, my Mum ended up having surgery midweek and remains seriously ill in Hospital. Seeing her in that state is hard, knowing there is nothing I can do to help her.

So practice has been a little erratic, not helped by my arm returning to being painful, rather than just aching, not only from the practice and physiotherapy, but when it’s even doing nothing. The arm has lost length and movement, though the latest physio is making it stronger, though it feels like as the muscles get larger again they are being inhibited by the metalwork and internal sutures.

At least there is AYL on a Sunday to look forward to, well for the next few weeks at least,before the Shala closes for the holidays. It’s certainly got quieter there on Sundays, but still warm, quiet and my mental sanctuary.


Lots of help from Louise and Emma and some insight afterwards. Despite being nowhere near Mari D at home, Louise seems to have some magic that allows her to easily adjust my left arm around the right knee and bind. She commented after that the shoulder is actually harder to adjust in Trikonasana where the left arm is raised, she said it’s still really restricted in that plane.

I can tell the arm is getting stronger as I can do Bhuja again, the arm has strength when it’s straight and pressing in to the shoulder, but it’s weak when the arm isn’t rigid or is trying to lift and has lost range of motion again, which is frustrating.

Why could I balance Urdva Mukha Paschimottanasana yesterday, but today Emma had to rescue me as I wobbled, every day is different.

My 2nd series poses are pretty much back, Bhekasana was and is my stuck point, but that’s beginning to change. If I use the right hand to push the left foot down, I can get the left hand to go where it’s supposed to, it’s letting go to grab the right foot when it gets difficult, the left arm isn’t strong enough to push down and stay in place. After doing both sides on their own I threw a towel over my left foot so the left hand didn’t slip and let go to try and get the right foot, luckily E was behind me and held the left in place so I could get the right, she then let go to use her hands to pull my shoulders back as I somehow managed to keep hold of both feet, I was pretty delighted that the hands stayed in place without a teacher holding them.

Closing is only lacking Sirsasana now, that is still way too painful to contemplate for some reason. However a freak surprise in Baddha Padmasana, which I’ve never been able to touch, let alone Baddha. My left fingers found my left toes to bind and my right fingers touched my right toes, though I couldn’t bind, my arms struggle to get the concept of crossing behind to grab the toes, but I’ve never found one side before, let alone binding one side and touching the other.

So just two more Sundays to go this year, though I’m tempted to sneak in a Wednesday before they close for the 17 days of Xmas tedium.