Archive for January, 2014

Sirsasana makes a come back

January 27, 2014

Two Shala practices again this weekend, first one going local. Starting late there at least meant the room was actually warmer than normal, even though I ended up as far away from the radiator as possible, but it did give me a wall behind for the backbends . Mainly left to my own devices, I think the teacher is getting to the point of needing an Assistant on a Saturday morning, but nice to just be able to flow through, no faff, just breathe and bend. Not bad UD's, well I got up at least, before dropping back and standing up from an ever decreasing pile of blocks, started with 7 and got down to 4.

Sirsasana was the surprise, I can walk my feet in, but when I get to the tipping and lifting point my arm and shoulder won’t have it, so I’ve been staying there for as many breaths as I can stand, but C offered to help me get up, neither of us knowing quite how that would go. So I walk my feet in and she lifts them up and woo hoo there I am semi balanced, with her making sure I don’t go out of the side door, then I realise she’s not actually holding me, just batting my feet back in to the middle. And what’s more, once I’m up no problem with the arm or shoulder. I just need to find a way of getting up on my own now, getting over the tipping and lifting point without it pissing my shoulder off.

Celebratory breakfast with 14 yogis crammed around a couple of tables in the coffee shop below the Shala, where I got asked if I would do the Mysore talk again for them.

Sunday back in the AYL oven, the space on my right had all the action, a newbie doing Garbha , which reminded me of being in Mysore, as her turning circle got ever wider as she bounced pinball style off two walls and my mat. After the newbie left I was treated to Genny doing a stunning Nakrasana on the vacated wooden floor, though she said her toes didn’t enjoy it!

Lots of super help from Louise and Emma, Mari D and a full on Supta K feet behind my head from one of them, managing to lift out in to Titibhasana. A Baddha Konasana squishing and a great Bhekasana assist, I’m amazed how that is coming along despite my arms still lack of shoulder rotation, I can stand the downward pressure from the assist, even though I’m not yet strong enough to push down with the arm on my own.

UD in that warmth get better with each one, the first one is a mental game to stop looking at the paint job on the ceiling and push up, but by number 4 my left arm is in a better position and ends up much stronger and straighter. I got a few minutes hang back playtime before Louise came over to do assisted. New game this week, instead of finger touching and coming back up we landed the first one then lowered down, number two was landing, rock and up, numbers three and four were landing, walk in, walk in more, rock and back up. How I could do with that every day instead of once a week. Having her pull my hips forward takes just enough weight off my left arm so that the shoulder can rotate that little bit further to let me walk the hand in. In UD I can only walk the hand if I’m balanced on my head.

Not sure about All is coming, but some things seem to be.


Chaturanga coming

January 20, 2014

I accidentally managed to do a proper Chaturanga the other day, up until now I’ve just been using my knees to keep the weight out of my still recovering arm as I lowered down, but a combination of the blue band physio and the Bandhas making a comeback are starting to give me back the little elements of control.

Cross arm and straight arm hang back backbends have woken my legs up, I had just been bouncing back up off the wall, but lately I’ve been putting down some crash landing gear just in case gravity wins and trying to hang as far as I can without actually trying to go all the way. I’ve rediscovered the little opening crack in the top of my back that gives me that deeper bend and my legs are getting used to the idea that they are supposed to keep me up.

The arm still won’t lift much and the range of motion has definitely plateaued, but it’s quite strong pushing in to the arm, Urdva Dhanurasana is getting closer, but until the ROM improves another 30 degrees I’m stuck where I am. I tried turning my hands over in PPC, **#¥***, won’t be doing that again just yet!

Practice at AYL was good, it’s becoming very consistent, just Mari D, some of the exits and Sirsasana are still beyond me, but the intermediate postures were never this good before the fracture! A brilliant Bhekasana assist after managing to get both my feet at the same time, excellent timing on Louise’s part to be behind me. At times practice feels like it’s back to normal,then something sharply brings me back down to earth. Savasana is a case in point, my arm suddenly painfully spasms after a few minutes and I have to change position or lay my arm across me until it’s time to get up.

I had to have my “Carer’s” Health check last week too, height, weight, BP, pulse, don’t smoke, don’t drink, don’t abuse any substances, well apart from Tea and croissants, questions on physical exercise, depression, medical history. They will get back to me, can’t wait, they are probably just preparing my padded cell in the ashtangi Asylum.

At least my “Just Practice” poster arrived today, loved the insert that came with it showing where all the photos were taken, just need to get it framed now.


January 12, 2014

Open again at last, my first Sunday back at AYL this morning. I’ve missed practising there the last few weeks, I’ve missed the heat and the regular assistance, I’ve missed the energy and the other people I share that space with and of course I’ve really missed the breakfast chocolate croissants that always follow.

It was quiet when I arrived, though the back row was full I had the front row to myself, though not cold it certainly wasn’t as hot as my last practice in there, my elbows didn’t manage to produce any steam at least. The room filled up as I practiced, the whole process feels so much easier in there. Help with my arm in the Trikonasanas and Parsvakonasana sequences, my arm really struggles to find the right position, but it no longer objects to Louise putting it where it should be. If I try and move the arm it feels trapped and uncooperative, but when I just relax it and let Louise do whatever with it, then no problem.

Lots of help from Emma today, as the room filled up she seemed to end up assisting at my end, Emma’s assists feel lighter, but are just as effective as Louise’s, Tiriang Mukha realignment, Supta K and as she lifted me to exit I actually managed Titibhasana but moving into Bhakasana to jump back is still way beyond my arms ability, though I can do Bhakasana for a few seconds on its own.


Hope I get to lay my mat here again one day

My intermediate to Bhekasana is very consistent again now, Bhekasana is now better than it was before the fracture, especially with using my chalk ball to give my hands the traction to hold the feet and push down, rather than just trying to hang on.

So time for Urdva Dhanurasana, apart from the chalk ball to help my left hand stop sliding, thanks to Suzanne I’ve been doing some Feldenkreis exercises this week to try and make it more comfortable for the arm in that position before I try and push up. The arm just about has enough strength to push up, but it can’t straighten and starts to slide, especially if the upper spine isn’t as open as it can be. If the back is open I can move the weight backwards to increase the range of motion which makes it easier to push up and be in a better position. I try for three or four UD’s, they are not great, but it’s 3 or 4 more than I could contemplate 6 weeks ago.

I only got in a couple of hang backs before Emma arrived to do assisted backbends, she carried on where Hamish left off, assisting me back and letting me put weight into the arm and attempting to walk the hands in, like UD the strength is there, but the range of motion is the issue, so I only “walk” about half an inch.

A much better practice than I expected after a week of colds and flu jabs, the communal energy, heat and help sure make it a lot easier than home alone, it’s also a lot quicker, at least 20 minutes going by the clock in the Finishing Room. As usual I just wish I could get it more than once a week. Good to be back though.

Two things

January 11, 2014

Since TLC on Sunday I’ve had a cold, I was hoping for a good practice week so I could hit the ground running at AYL on Sunday, but it will be what it will be, I’ve haven’t managed a full one since Wednesday.

In the lurgy enforced down time I came across two super yoga pieces on the web. The first was the fruition of Small Blue Pearls Runway project. Over 250 people from all over the world, including me, have sent in their photo of their practice space, bedrooms, living rooms, garage, garden, local Shala. Laura did this project to show that although many of us practice alone, that in fact we are part of something much bigger, we are all doing the same thing on similar mats, in similar spaces just in our own time zones. Laura has now made everyone’s photos in to a 31×15 poster called “Just practice”, which she will ship out to any corner of the planet where people lay their mats. It was fun looking for my own photo among all the cats and dogs who seem to want to get in on their owners action.


The second article I came across was a link to a You Tube video Peg posted on her blog. The video shows yogi Tova Steiner who recently had to have a hip replacement at just 40 years old, the video shows how she is getting on 90 days after surgery, amazing to see what she can do.

Here’s a link to the video

I hope after my next shoulder operation that I have the same kind of recovery, but as Tova says “Come to practice and do what you can”

Functioning again!

January 6, 2014

That’s how Phillipa later described it. Yes compared to when I last practised with her at TLC back in October I suppose my body and practice have started to function again. To me it feels like I’m not getting very far, especially after the Consultant told me my arm had “plateaued” and I need another operation, but P remembering October and seeing me now, the difference in my physicality is probably more than I appreciate.

I still needed her help with Mari D on the first side, but unlike 10/13 I could bind Supta K on my own and P could Dwi Pada me before helping with the exit, so much fun doing that again. Great to get some 2nd series assistance again as well, easy binding of Pasasana and a Behkasana assist when I wasn’t expecting it.

I’ve missed Phillipa’s teaching since TLC abolished the Saturday Mysore class, getting there on Sundays when AYL is closed is very hit and miss with the abysmal public transport.


Next Sunday it will be back to the AYL sauna, but I will have an answer to sliding hands in backbends with my chalk ball, after C let me try hers at AYL before Xmas I decided to get one. It did go to show how much yogis can be ripped off, C got hers from Yogamatters at £7 plus shipping, I got exactly the same thing from a Climbing and outdoor type shop in Covent Garden for £2.99, there always seem to be a premium added to the price of anything to do with yoga.

While I was in Covent Garden I watched some Jugglers, one girl was in handstand juggling soft balls with her feet, very impressive.