Monday, January 3, 2011

Turtle Returns

I'm convinced that last year's rotator cuff tendon attachment injury scared me away from even the healing aspects of yoga.

I returned today, to what was advertised as "Very Beginner Yoga", with Brent, Dana's husband. He, I think, is fairly new to the teaching game, but an experienced yogi.

Speaking of yogi, tonight's class was a bit of a bear.


Still with me?

Very elementary introduction - only an hour in duration.

I have lost a significant amount of stamina, not to mention the ability to clear my head quickly. This, I think, is when I need yoga the most.

I have this ugly habit - and I'm sure it's all a matter of being human - of letting go routines that I set up which actually work to my benefit. I get sidetracked easily. Recently it's been work and financial matters, and a stubbornness surrounding a tenacious want for a life that isn't all-work-all-the-time.

Slowly and steadily I've been piecing back together the lifestyle I had before the crash of September 2008. Two-and-some years later I'm moving forward again.

Yoga tonight.

Pottery upcoming Thursday.

The want to return to business-as-usual (literally and figuratively) has itself, returned.

I think the timing is somewhat coincidental. I'm not labelling this a New Years' resolution of any kind; simply, it's time.

More sleep
More water
More money
More time
More of what I love to do.

Namaste, peace.

Friday, July 2, 2010

A yogic reunion

I returned to yoga on Wednesday; went to Dana's Beginner class, quite mindful of my right shoulder. Back in April I'd sprained something in my rotator cuff - a tendon attachment (of which there are plenty) but it translated to a significant strain of the segment of the triceps where they attach to the rotator cuff. Massage therapy for eight weeks has helped tremendously, but continued use at work has caused re-injury, not to mention a heightened frustration.

Twice my shoulder locked up as I extended into triangle pose, and I very much had to cheat chaturanga and anything resembling plank. I simply could not weight-bare. Yesterday my left triceps felt as painful as my right. I'm really frustrated because I'm trying to build strength in these areas so as not to allow for re-injury, and in the process, I'm re-injuring. Ugg.

I suppose this is where the rubber meets the road where my yoga practice is concerned. How much of what I want is simply physical fitness, and how much is a want to be truly mindful of my 'now' position?

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Update on my cranky shoulder time flies! Since my last post, I haven't been to yoga. Turns out I sprained a tendon attachment in my right rotator cuff. I've been the last number of weeks at the massage therapy school, three times a week.

Last week I felt a great deal better and although the sharp pain is gone, the achiness persists, along with some burning sensation where the pectoral muscle meets the bicep in the front of my shoulder. My student therapists have all agreed that the burning is a GOOD thing, confirming circulation. I was initially in fear of having torn something, and that's never good.

My body's been telling me all sorts of things lately - mostly what some might deem,

"'re getting older!"

I prefer to remain in denial, standing by,

"18 til I die".

I learned that setbacks can, in a moment, destroy what's taken months, even years to accomplish. I've also heard that once back on track, the catchup can be quick.

I've been cleared by the instructor at the Professional Institute of Massage Therapy to return to yoga, but to "cheat" chatturanga, or plank by dropping to my knees rather than up on the toes.

"It's an incredibly demanding posture, supporting your body weight like that...",
he said in our initial assessment.

The difference between chaturanga (the Ashtanga version of plank) and plank (often associated with Pilates) is that in chaturanga, you're not poised on your forearms and elbows,

but rather palms-down with elbows tucked in to the sides of your body.

This puts more stress on the pecs and the muscles connecting at the front of the rotator cuff.

So, yup, I've overdone it at yoga. In-keeping with a yogic approach to healing, I've been a good little yogi and backed it off. I do, however wish to return to class.

I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Yoga's like the gym that, as I've discovered, you can most certainly over do it. Last couple of classes I've had a cranky shoulder - aggravated by lowering to Chataranga, plank, or pushup position. Even though we're encouraged to back off or omit postures that may be cause for pain or overexertion, this one's tough to let slide.

The half primary series has somewhere around 20 of these worked into the sequence. To omit them would be tough as it would break the 'flow' of the vinyasa flow. They link the forward fold to upward-facing dog. I'm really not sure how you would get from standing to up-dog without somehow going through a lowering transition.

Perhaps I could try it with only my left arm. We'll see.

In the mean time, I think I'll seek out a massage therapist.

Sunday, April 4, 2010


The 31-day challenge came to a close on Wednesday last week. I took Saturday off, after 33 practices- well, 34 since I'd gone twice one day just in case I needed a spare. I did not win the draw for the one-year membership, but that wasn't really the point.

I've decided that going to yoga class is much like going to the gym. Sometimes going every day leads to over-doing it.

I returned today for a morning class with Pat, and found myself pushing a little too hard. I'm struggling, to be honest. In one class I hear,

"Do what your body allows you to do - come back to the breath. You're not doing yoga until you surrender all agendas"

In another class, I hear,

"Have the courage to challenge yourself - to push your limits. This is where yoga begins."

Perhaps the balance is to be found in both statements, but some days I feel very much like a literalist - taking what i hear at face value, rather than applying it as is appropriate.

Maybe there's a lesson in this for me.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

The Final Stretch

The 31-day challenge is nearing an end. I have mixed emotions about it, too. It's been challenging, invigorating, exhausting and charging - seemingly all at once. I must admit that I've caught myself in a mode of competitiveness now and again, and when that happens I tend to get disappointed in my progress - as if the forward motion in the physical realm were the end-all and be-all.

I surprised myself last week when I did about three hours of fairly heavy gardening - moving gravel, shovelling loam, digging trenches and filling holes. At the end of it, all I really wanted was a meal - I was hungry; not tired, not sore, not beat - simply hungry. That, to me, is a sign that the continuous yoga practice is indeed paying off.

Have to admit though, it would be a really great feeling to do all the postures with dead-on accuracy, steadiness and a mindful flow. I catch myself now and again watching those who practice with effortless movements and breath. I watch with a sense of awe and amazement, and I guess it gives me something to shoot for.

I've had something going early-morning each and every day for just over a week, and I've lost a fair amount of sleep because of it all. I'm stoked about how the yard is coming together, and it's meant I've put in a lot of hours this last weekend - even past the point of "I should go to bed".

So... I'm going to bed.

Turtle out... er... namaste.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Spare time

I'm a thinker and a ponderer - always have been. When duty calls, I jump right into action and... think about it - whatever the "it" may be.

Today at the yoga studio, Kim read from a book she picked up over the weekend - and I'm sorry, I've forgotten the title, but it was yoga-related. As we all lay on our mats in cool-down mode, eyes closed, regaining our normal breathing cycle, she shared with us the authors thoughts on how to spend our spare time.

I won't quote directly, because I cant, but I can indeed paraphrase what I heard.

What do we do with our spare time? It was offered up by the author that many of us dream of doing some of the great things that we see others doing, and more to the point, we sit in front of the TV and watch actors fulfill THEIR dreams, and rock stars live out THEIR greatest moments of fame on the stage. We often spend our time reading about those who have accomplished their life ambition - yet beyond our work and daily living, many of us never seem to find the time or motivation to live our dreams. It was suggested that in our spare time, we could make the effort to not only dream a little larger, but to take action toward achieving our dreams. This, as opposed to vegging out and simply watching the world go by.

I found it interesting that this was offered up in the same space where we're constantly hearing,

"...simply let it be."


"...simply observe what's going on in your body, your life..."

Earlier in the class, Kim's comment was "This is where yoga begins" - referring to the challenge of trying new and possibly difficult-to-you poses - to see what is possible.

Early in May there's a talk on the eight legs of Ashtanga Yoga. Going to class and fulfilling the physical challenges is but one. It will be interesting to see what unfolds.