Archive for February, 2014

Stretching it

February 23, 2014


It’s been a stop start practice week, my back rebelled on Monday after carrying my black mat and the shopping over my right shoulder and in my right hand on Sunday. My left arm and shoulder may slowly be recovering, but carrying and lifting are still a while away, so on Monday my back was not happy. It took until Friday to do a proper practice after a week of tennis ball and tiger balm.

Saturday practice at home in the warm up to Laghu Vaj. Sunday, after a long bus ride, back by my Radiator at AYL. It’s so easy just to unroll the mat and go. Louise knows the Physio has told me to do whatever in the weeks leading up to the next op, so she’s soon stretching my shoulders, downward dog pulling me backwards from the Pelvis, Trikonasana gently pulling the arm upwards and rotating it into the correct position, instead of letting it hang out where its comfortable. Prasarita C back to the full on foot between the arms stretching my shoulders and arms down towards the floor, a much deeper and more intense stretch, she seems to intuitively know how far to go. Another case of the arm not being able to do a movement on its own, but it’s quite happy to be adjusted there.

Left to my own devices in the Marichyasana sequence, Louise watched but left me as I magically bound Mari D on my own. I just hope it doesn’t disappear again during the week. Supta K all bound again on my own, usual easy Garbha in that heat. A nice squishing from Emma in Baddha Konasana.

I can tell when I have a good, focused practice, I get to the bum balances and suddenly realise I’m heading for closing. Not of course before I do the 5 intermediate postures ending with Bhekasana, that chalk ball sure helps my weak left arm keep a downward pressure on the foot.

UD is coming along, though the left arm still can’t straighten, at home I’m able to carefully drop back on to a bolster, but the floor is still a bit hard for my arm to land on, so I’m still glad of Emma’s assistance with drop backs.

I’m running out of practice Sundays now as I wait for the date.


Devi two hands

February 16, 2014

Friday’s moon day was a welcome rest, but it’s been hard to get going again, dunno about Guruji’s “body not stiff, mind stiff” theory. Saturday morning’s practice after a stormy night of flying bin lids and smashing glass in a not warm enough Shala was hard going, everything was stiff.

Sunday at AYL nearly didn’t happen, 7am all trains cancelled, leaves or tress on the line, but luckily I got a ride in to the city, so I was on my mat in my favourite Radiator spot only a few minutes late. I don’t know why other people don’t like that nice warm spot, but glad to see it was till free.

The heat sure does help, mind and body more pliable and comfortable, it’s just so much easier to get in to the groove at AYL. Standing just happens, mostly left alone until UHP. Mari D had steadily got worse and less bound since last Sundays binding miracle. I thought it wasn’t going to happen today, I’d tried to bind twice but just couldn’t, third attempt I found Louise had appeared behind me and she joined the fingers up, once I’m bound I can stay, but it wasn’t as “relatively easy” as it was last week. My arm wants to say “No”, but the Physiotherapist has told me to do anything and everything I can.

Supta K and Garbha in the heat are easy, Supta K feels like a free pass when Louise comes and adjusts it, feet behind head, lift and exit, love that, hope it doesn’t take as long to get it back after the next operation.

4 hands Devi

Intermediate are steady, Pasasana to Salabhasana B just happen, Bhekasana super assist again from Louise. I found out at breakfast that she doesn’t suddenly sprout Goddess Devi style extra arms. Apparently she grips my hands on to my feet with her toes and uses her hands to lift the chest, which is still a pretty skilled adjustment I have to say.

Assisted Urdva Dhanurasana today followed by assisted drop backs, my back wasn’t as open, after a moon day and a cold practice, even AYL heat wasn’t enough. At least Sirsasana with help from the wall was good, I just can’t get up. Some days are like that, at least I got there.

The two Sunday moon days in March are a nuisance coming when I really need to be there before the operation, I could do with a week there never mind 3 out of 5 Sundays.


A few years ago Susan was responsible for converting me to Mysore practice after the led class finished. I’m not her only convert, but without her encouragement my practice would never have got to where it did, her advice as I have progressed has been invaluable . So it was great to see the photo of her today outside KPJAYI in Mysore with her certificate of Authorisation, if anyone deserves this Susan does.

Physio guinea pig

February 12, 2014

After 6 weeks of yoga and doing the physiotherapy on my own it was time to check in with the physiotherapist. Before starting she asked if I minded her trainee being there as I’m what she terms an interesting case, what with fractures, metalwork and ground up Pelvis filling in the gap.

The arm can lift a little higher than the last time I saw her, but it’s still very tight and certainly far from free moving, the pushing off the wall is good, but lifting anything above a kilo is still impossible. So she says it looks like it’s still a good plan to have the arthroscopic surgery and metalwork removed.

Treatment was interesting, it was like being in a Shala with a trainee assistant and an experienced teacher. S the proper Physio told R the trainee to do the pushing in to the shoulder which does release some of the restriction, but she wasn’t pushing very hard, but kept asking if I was ok. Time for S to show her how it’s done, S pushes much harder, it’s not exactly painful, but it is uncomfortable and I can feel the tightness and I ache afterwards. Then she had R move on to my neck and back, R soon picked up my necks left leaning tendency which has been exacerbated by the injury, but at least said my back muscles are good.

The left shoulder however is much further forward than the uninjured right and they said I need to do a lot of moving the shoulder blades towards each other before the operation to try and improve the shoulder position and improve the backs general posture. The better it is before the op the easier it will be to get it back afterwards.

Need to do a lot of this

Hopefully the L plate Physio learned something new and getting a double dose of everything should help me, even if it leaves me sore. It’s a bit like practice you feel it hours after and not at the time.

Mari D has just about stayed, though away from the Shala heat each day less fingers have joined and I’ve been able to stay in it for less breaths, hopefully I won’t have lost it again by the time I get back to AYL on Sunday.

Are those my fingers?

February 9, 2014

Makes a change from strike notices

As the next operation gets ever nearer and my arm is seemingly stuck at its plateau of stuckness, little chinks of light still appear on my mat when the conditions are right. The AYL Shala was very busy today,Mari A to Mari C bound, time for Mari D where Louise or Emma normally come to help my left arm circumnavigate my right knee. Towel in place but no sign of help, L doing a Pincha in front and E a Supta K down the row, oh well I decide to just try and if it’s not there so be it. Left arm round right knee, grab a bit of left leg, swing the right arm round the back, more in hope than expectation and fingers touch, not bad on my own without a block under me, but no wait there’s more, a right middle finger grabs it’s counterpart, then another couple of fingers manage to bind. My arm is ok I can twist and open the chest and stay there, it’s over 400 days since I was last able to bind the first side of Mari D on my own at the Shala without assistance. It remains to be seen if it was a freaky one off.

Things come and go, it seems to be a very transient practice lately, extricating myself from Bhujapidasana has become a problem again, yet I can go a proper Garbha again now, after easily binding my own Supta K.

I’ve loved Supta K since I first managed to bind on my own and realised it’s not just for the “bendy Wendy’s” up the front, not that there is a front or back at the Shala, your mat can end up anywhere, whoever you are, beginner or 3rd series “Wendy”. It’s one of the two asanas I really want back after all this medical crap is over. The other is backbends, I worked so hard to be able to do them in the first place, finding the physical strength and conquering the mental fears of dropping back and standing up. At the local Shala I got to play, after going 4 poses beyond to Laghu Vajrasana to give my legs the engagement I managed to eventually drop back and stand up from 3 blocks, one block lower than last week. AYL backbends mean no playtime, apart from a couple of nice deep hang backs, as I came up from the second I found Louise waiting for me, assisted drop back, walk in and stand up, three times, Louise mega squash, roll up my mat as Louise calls “one more”.

The finishing room had one person closing and five people starting their practice, the Shala was rammed like it hasn’t been on a Sunday in ages. Glad I got there earlyish. Alas I didn’t get a piece of wall, so Sirsasana didn’t happen, I tried but the risk at this stage of taking out 5 people if it went wrong, I just walk my feet in and tried to put some weight in to my arms.

Roll on next Sunday.

Evolving Evolution

February 3, 2014


Garbha gear
My arms range of motion may have plateaued, but little things still keep opening elsewhere. After last weeks surprise Sirsasana, a feet I’ve managed to repeat since with aid from the wall to get my balance, my upper back seems to have found an extra notch of opening, all those cross arm hang backs have had an effect, not to mention my legs letting me hang further for longer. The local Shala has a well stocked toy cupboard of blocks and bolsters, I get left alone to play and go for the full walking down the wall to dropping on to and standing up from fewer and fewer blocks. It’s nice to be able to experiment and see what’s possible. C does some nice assists, joining my fingers on the second side of Pasasna, but she couldn’t quite get Bhekasana to work

AYL the day after is different, no playing around, no toys, just hit the mat and go. Much warmer, more bendy, more focus, much quieter. Steady practice with super assists. Louise waiting for me in Mari C and D. Although I can do Supta K again on my own, I’m back to getting the assist of my feet ending up behind my head, which means the Titibhasana exit is actually quite easy, though the transition to Bhakasana still isn’t possible, my arm won’t have it. Bhekasana assist for the second day running, it has to be about technique and Louise obviously has it, despite slippy hands she kept me in place with her knees while lifting my chest up. UD then a couple of hang backs before T comes to do dropbacks, walking the hands in a little, though we seem to have reached the limit of my shoulders range of motion, not to mention the arm refuses to straighten in that position. I’m doing about 60% of the coming up now.

Off to the Finishing Room, a spot with some wall behind, a bit of a crash in to the wall as I get up in to Sirsasana and find the balance point for as long as my arm and shoulder will put up with it. That’s the first Sirsasana I’ve done at AYL in over 13 months.

That was the physical practice, which is evolving slowly, but not the end of the yoga day. After breakfast back for Ruth’s Evolution of yoga history & Philosophy over the last 3000 years in 2.5hrs, 20 years a minute by my reckoning, who needs a Tardis!
My notes need deciphering, but basically Ruth tried to pottedly cover the Harappa civilisation from 2500bc, the Vedas, Upanisads, via the epics of Mahabatra, Ramayana and the Gita, Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, Vivekanandas lectures at the end of the 19th century, ending with Krishnamacharya, Iyengar and Guruji.

I missed plenty , but I at least had some idea after the monthly philosophy group sessions, but it’s interesting to see the lineage in a chronological style order and how it joins together like beads on a Mala, bringing us to the present day asana we now do.

My favourite spot by the radiator next to the right window