Archive for March, 2014

D-Day has a date

March 29, 2014

Ive now got just two AYL practices to go, a week ago I thought I had 7 or 8. My arthroscopic surgery on my shoulder was originally scheduled for 29th May, but suddenly earlier this week I found out I’ve been moved up the list to 10th April, the sooner the better, the sooner I can hopefully start to recover and finally get my practice back, not to mention get a job and have an income again. My arm has made a lot of progress with the physiotherapy, massage and practice, but it’s still not right. The range of motion improvement came to a stop before Christmas and since the tear in the Supraspinatus the strength has diminished.

And just when practice was coming, binding Pasasana, holding Bhekasana and semi backbends, at least I know it’s possible to get it back. It’s not the flexibility that goes with enforced weeks and months off the mat,it’s the stamina and muscle strength. It’s taken 9 months from starting to practice again, starting 2 months after the first surgery, to get back to where I am now.

Dhanurasana is going to have to wait.

I had a plan to possibly be here for my birthday, but with another long recovery and The Boss changing the summer months to an Authorised Teachers only gig that plan is sunk.

Plan B was to be in Hammersmith, but along with the majority this is the closest I got to getting one of the precious Kate Bush tickets, so that plan is gone.

So it looks like as it’s a Wednesday I’ll be here for the big five O.


3 in 4 days

March 23, 2014

A third proper practice in the last 4 days, after Lulufest, the local Shala yesterday with it’s well stocked toy cupboard and today “home” to AYL.

Saturday at the local Shala seems to be about experimenting and opening everything up ready for Sunday. Trying a different Supta K entry, going up to Laghu Vajrasana and doing backbends with blocks and dropbacks on to Bolsters.

Today started with a middle of the night bus trip into the city, I won’t miss that next Sunday, moon day and summer time starting, ie an hour stolen from my sleep.

Practice at AYL has a much better flow, less distractions, quieter, more concentrated, much more internal, less space, aware of only those on either side and the person on the mat in front of me.

Another consistent practice until I got to Mari D when I realised I had for the first time ever, forgotten to bring a little towel with me. So the first side trying to get my dodgy left arm round the knee without any traction proved impossible, luckily I was spotted and assistance arrived. Of course other asanas are all the better for being towel deficient, Supta K and Garbha now I can get both arms bound behind in the first and through the gaps for a proper 360 in the second.

Surprisingly, despite no binding towel, I managed to just about finger grab Pasasana and with some chalk held on to both feet while being assisted in Bhekasana, whatever muscle it is that’s responsible for pushing the foot down seems to be gaining a bit of strength at long last.

The Supraspinatus problem is most noticeable in Urdva Dhanurasana, according to Wikipedia that muscle is responsible for the first 10-20 degrees of arm movement before the big arm muscles take over, which explains why getting off the ground has become so bloody hard suddenly, the arm struggles to push me up and if I do manage to get up, it lacks the power to push the hand flat and I start sliding away. Being in UD from dropback is much better with more weight in the legs, so long as I can control the descent I can end up in UD with straight arms, even if I have banged my head while getting my range.

By the time I got to dropbacks the Shala was busy, there was a queue needing PPC, Supta K , Kapo and backbend assists, so I got to play on my own for a few minutes, finally landing my first unassisted dropback in the Shala since December 2012. I only managed two before Emma came over to assist, but she had obviously seen me land and asked if I was back to doing it on my own, had to admit it’s still very hit and miss, so she compromised and let me drop most of the way on my own then assisted the landing and pulled my hips forward so I could walk the hands before coming back up, but she said it’s looking good 🙂


So the board says New Moon next Sunday, no 5:30am alarm, change the clocks and Mother’s Day, they do like to keep us informed, though not sure who chalked “You’ll be lucky” underneath the Mother’s Day notice!

Lulu Fest

March 20, 2014

Talk about mega marketing, renting the Opera House and a full Orchestra a week ago and “buying” every yoga class at every big studio in London today,

Opera House yoga class for 350

Lululemon are certainly sparing no expense getting known and collecting email addresses. So it was a bit of a surprise to walk in to The Lifecentre in Islington this morning, having taken advantage and signed up for the Mysore class with Ruth, not a shred of Lululemon marketing material, no banners, no balloons, nobody forcing yogis in to brightly coloured sheer leggings.

According to the website every spot was booked, Ruth had two Assistants to cope with the crowds, but the crowds never came, it was “no show central”, plenty of space and with three to assist, so no shortage of help. The first time I have practised at TLC Islington, started off facing the wrong way, even if I had found the corner next to the Radiator!

Good practice, Ruth knows my arms limitations, but still gave me a super Prasarita C assist. One of the Assistants did a great Mari C assist lifting as well as rotating the torso, I’m sure that’s what made Pasasana a simple stress free bind. Mostly adjustments are just physical, but nice of Ruth to give me some advice with getting my left arm and hand to take a better position in Bhekasana.

Where did they all get to?

Urdva Dhanurasana has become hard to push up in to off the mat, my left arm has lost strength, maybe it was the accidental dropback the other day, but anyway the physiotherapist said I’ve possibly torn a bit of Supraspinatus, so UD is a trial. However being in UD from a dropback is far more comfortable, more weight staying in the legs and hands more under the shoulders. I realised R had watched my hang backs, before I could bend any deeper she decided to assist and help me go all the way and back up again.

Well it was the no shows loss and our gain, super practice with a great teacher, they don’t know what they missed. And two hours later still no sign of any Lululemon people, think they missed a trick there,unless they are going to deluge everyone with email tomorrow.


Rather than head home, I spent the afternoon at the top of The Shard, fantastic views of the city from the highest observation platform in Europe.

Tower Bridge

Accidental dropback

March 13, 2014

Getting out of it will take time

Backbends have been coming along, not so much Urdva Dhanurasana off the mat, pushing the weight up is still too hard, but hanging and the experimental slow Bolster dropback. It’s got to the point that I can drop back on to the Bolster with no faffing around, especially since I started doing Laghu Vajrasana at home to make my legs engage more to control the descent.

So today I did two nice drops on to the Bolster, number three felt different, I had more bend in the upper spine and good
control going back. Just as I got to the point of no return it dawned on me that the bend was deeper than expected and the soft Bolster wasn’t in range to land on, so it had to be the mat, oh shit is this gonna hurt, my mind said in that split second before touch down, but actually it didn’t and I landed and lowered myself down. Woo hoo 13 months since I last did that.

Standing up again could take a while though, as I still don’t have anything like the range of motion to walk the left arm/hand in enough to be able to rock. Hoping the surgery cures this. Though the Hospital told me this week that there is a backlog on the surgery waiting list and that instead of early April it’s now going to be some time in May before I get near the top of the list for the arthroscopic release and removal of my metalwork.

Pasasana staying

March 10, 2014

Where we come from.

Since last weeks surprise Pasasana bind, apart from one day it’s stayed. I often wonder if I do some something in a hot Shala in the right conditions if it’s just a one off never to be repeated lucky freak. Pasasana actually feels easier on my arm than the on off Mari D bind.

The consistency to Bhekasana is now good, especially at AYL where it’s so much easier and with assistance that knows when to arrive and more crucially how far to go. I’m amazed how far Louise can now take my arm in Prasarita C.

UD has alas gone off, I tweaked something at the local Shala on Friday and had a pulling apart sensation which I thought I could hear, but that may have been my mind playing games, but since then I can hardly push up in to UD, the shoulder doesn’t seem to have the strength or stability, it’s like the shoulder isn’t being held quite in place.

Locally I’m left to play Bolster dropbacks on my own, that is coming, but the shoulder is still nowhere being able to support a ground landing. AYL I did get in some nice hang backs before Emma came to assist, taking me to the floor, a little crawl of the hands, 3 rocks and up. I had been hoping to do it on my own before the next operation, everything else has come back, except that and Sirsasana, which sort of came back and now is lost again as well.

Moon day 😦

Grrr Moon day next Sunday, though I won’t miss having to get up for the rail replacement two hour bus ride, but annoying to miss a week with surgery approaching, a Wednesday practice is a possibility.

It’s all waiting now, still waiting for the surgery date, and waiting for Atos. I finally had the government health assessment, their third attempt after they had screwed up the two previous appointments.

Polar Bears and Pasasana

March 2, 2014


I love this picture!

Moon day Saturday in the city running the travel club, interesting talk about the Polar bear Jail they have in Canada. Polar bears look cute, but they are one of the few predators of us, though most ashtangi’s would probably only serve as a Polar bears tooth pick!


They probably prefer to eat non yogis, who have more meat on them !

Polar bears doing yoga would be something else, pure coincidence that I posted this photo among others over the last couple of days while helping out Yogaclicks.

Another early start on Sunday, AYL was quiet, lots of lucky people still in Mysore and other sunnier, warmer places. Not that my spot next to the radiator was cold, but after a moon day and two hours on a Bus to get there I was a bit stiff. Louise is certainly doing her best to get my left arm as mobile as possible before the next op, stretching it out in Trikonasana and Parsvakonasana and the usual deep pull in PPC, that feels nice, even if it does ache a bit later in the day. Still a case that Louise can move my arm in ways that it’s not capable of doing on its own.

Despite a day off Mari D was a bind tick, L watched, but once she saw a couple of fingers join she walked away. The surprise today was the second side of Pasasana, I haven’t up to now been able to rotate the left arm enough to get it round the knee far enough to bind, but somehow today it just went, what changed? But that’s the first time I’ve bound that on my own in 13 months, I stayed in it for about 15 breaths just for the fun of doing it 🙂

Bhekasana was only a half a tick, despite Louise’s best efforts, my foot was too slithery to keep hold of, oh well as we all know you can’t seem to have everything in one session in this game.

The backbends do suffer from missing a day, not great UD’s and no play time, just the regulation three up and downs before heading to the Finishing Room. Sirsasana has sporadically happened sans wall in the last week, today it had to be with wall before an uncomfortable exit, my shoulder is ok once I’m up or down, but transferring the weight through the arm and shoulder is still painful.

Roll on next Sunday. And any Yogaclicks subscribers on FB or twitter I hope you enjoyed the Ashtanga slant on the posts that last couple of days.