Archive for August, 2014

No cake, no prana.

August 27, 2014

The way I spent the half century day and some of the people who shared parts of it with me.

I hit the half century today, as usual on my birthday I practiced at the Shala. How many 50 year olds can even see their feet, let alone put them behind their head, yes I love doing Supta K.

Although I did regular led primary classes it wasn’t until I was 43 that I was forced to take the plunge into Mysore style, I couldn’t do Mari D, Supta K was for bendy people and backbends didn’t even enter my head, though I watched (bad drishte) people perform them. My practice as DK noted has come a long way, second series me? Well 7 years after my first Mysore class I can do Mari D and Supta K and am on Bhekasana in 2nd, I had no idea 7 years ago what second series even was.

I went to Mysore at 47 and stood up from a dropback for the first time, now we were in the realms of fantasy.

So back to my birthday practice, which was nicely punctuated by people wishing me Happy Birthday in various positions! Practice was followed by yogi breakfast, no shortage of chocolate croissants today.


Home to a Battenburg birthday cake, “no cake no prana” as someone said!

The cat cafe

My presents included last weeks outing to the cat cafe, a Bed of Nails mat as well as some yoga tops. Thanks to everyone who wished me happy birthday while I was on my mat, in the Shala at breakfast and closer to home, it’s been fun.

Couldn’t get a ticket


Pinned, stretched and landed on my head

August 22, 2014

Back to physiotherapy this week seeing a different therapist, my usual one is on vacation. She turned out to be the Physio for the Norwegian women’s rugby team no less, so I was a little apprehensive. Her first words being ” you may find I push a little harder than R”! Eeek!


This was the advice from my usual therapist!

It was good to do a different treatment, a new perspective , she started off giving me some new exercises, because she said part of the restriction I still have is caused by the thoracic spine being tight, the new exercises are really a warm up for the more intense new stretchy band exercises she’s given me to do at home, but despite being simple movements doing each of the 3 for 30 seconds is incredibly intense. She’s told me to only do them every other day, as I may seize up!

After the exercise lesson it was time to lay down and let her get to work, started with what she called “pinning & stretching”, pushing and pulling down hard on the muscle at the front of the shoulder to “pin” it, then stretching the arm/shoulder backwards against it, immediately beads of sweat form on my head. After this torture it was the usual pushing her palm in to the shoulder to break down any scar tissue and free the joint, but OMG she certainly pushes a LOT harder then R does, I thought R pushed hard, but from the cracks, pops and aching afterwards this was a different level of pushing!

12 hours or so later I flopped my mat down at AYL hoping all the previous evenings thoracic and shoulder opening would give me a super practice, how wrong that was. It was super warm, I had a nice spot near the opening, lots of help but it just didn’t get any easier and ended up being a slog, it’s amazing how much 30 minutes physio wipes me out, that’s the first time I’ve been to the Shala the day after physio, H had to help me do my UD’s, then time to test that thoracic, #1 landed ok, #2 landed just about, #3 Landed on my head! At which point H came over laughing to do assisted dropbacks.

At least I got a space in the Finishing Room this week, a good job I don’t snore as I think I dropped off in Savasana!

Hard graft

August 18, 2014

The backbends are coming back, on a dry (not sweat saturated) mat, I can push up in to Urdva Dhanurasana and on a good day I can even stay up and walk the hands in a little way. Dropping back from standing is becoming a little more consistent, going back straight is making landing on both hands at the same time happen.

Between all the strengthening physio exercises I do and the challenging hands on physiotherapy sessions the arm is getting stronger and gradually getting much better range of motion. The unexpected problem is that little 2 inch scar, on the front of my Pelvis where they took the bone graft, it’s hardly visible. It’s become very sore from being stretched, considering it’s now almost two years since I last did backbends this deep, really stretching open the front of the body again, I’d actually forgotten about that scar, but I sure remember it now!

AYL Shala practice is on Wednesdays this month through necessity , no trains on the weekends. An unexpected bonus with Ruth teaching, assisted by Emma, just like when I was first going to AYL. Surprisingly quiet there, lots of help, especially with my re emerging second series, Ruth is great with Pasasana and Bhekasana, deepest Bhekasana bend since L gave it me. Three nice dropback landings before Ruth sent N over to do assisted ones. At least they let me try on my own now.

The last time I practised with Ruth was just before this years surgery, when I was still struggling, so lovely to get an SMS on the way home from her saying “well impressed with your recovery”.

Fridge Magnet Drishte

August 6, 2014

Drop backs are improving, safe landings are up to 66%, 2 from 3, though i seem to have a habit of landing on my head for the second one. I realised its because I twist to the right as I go back. At the Shala being assisted L or E keep me straight, but home alone after I have followed the line in the ceiling, I start to twist when there’s no line to follow, landing on the right hand first, my head then lands before the left hand has a chance to land.

Simple but effective!

When I’m dropping back on to my block so I can practice standing up again, I do the same thing, but no longer “Fridge magnet drishte” is the answer, the block is jammed against the wall below the radiator, a line of fridge magnets down the radiator give me something to follow, so I go back evenly. Hopefully the right twist habit will eventually be replaced by a straight drop back.

Maybe the online yoga shops are missing a trick, they should be selling portable drishte lines you can hang from anywhere.

Touch down!

August 3, 2014

At 7am I thought I wasn’t going to even make it to AYL at all, first train cancelled, next 2 “Delayed”, let alone do something I hadn’t done in 606 days in that room.
I Finally arrived an hour later than usual, luckily a spare space between two of yoga breakfast friends.

Nice slow practice after the rush to get there, I really need that Prasarita C assist, the complete opposite movement to the physiotherapy. Getting in there an hour later means the room is even warmer, great for the Marichyasana’s and left to it in Supta K, nodding approval from L as she assisted next door.

A nice squashing in Baddha Konasana. Intermediate is now as good as it ever was, Emma helping my Bhekasana, though my hand slid off, getting the chest lifting assist helps open the upper back for closing.


Took my time with Urdva Dhanurasana, push up, drop to my head, walk in and push up, my left arm still needs to be able to walk in and rotate a little more,it’s also not quite as straight as the right arm so tends to slide still, but no pain or discomfort, so all good.

Teacher and Assistant both engaged elsewhere gave me the chance to hang back, then realise I was quite open, keep going, keep going, stretch the arms, hands out, TOUCH DOWN. The first dropback in the Shala since the day before I broke my arm 20 months ago. I managed two more, before Emma arrived to do the assisted ones. Standing up probably won’t come until I can walk the hands in another 6-8 inches.

So after thinking I wasn’t even going to get there I left with some unexpected progress. A pity just as I’m getting somewhere at last that next Sunday is Moon day and the rest of August the rail line is closed down. Grrr.