Back to the mat

December 30, 2007

Most of the time between Thanksgiving and the holidays was deliberate rest period for me. My knee had become painful again and I thought rest would be a good experience, though I did breakdown and practice a few times during that period. I am now practicing sporadically again and have practiced 3 days in a row over the last few days, which will hopefully evolve again into the 6 day week. As Woyopracmo is starting very soon I better get on top of things.

I’m beginning to wonder if I have any choice, but to have surgery on the knee. I finally went to orthopedic surgeon to have it looked at (It took them four months to get me in). They now want me to go for an MRI, believing it is a meniscus tear that can be repaired (sewn back together). The recovery from that involves having my leg in a brace for 6 weeks post surgery so I can’t bend it. Basically, I only have trouble with the knee during yoga, though running is mostly out of the question at this point. Who’s to say that even with surgery I’ll be able to practice with full range of motion with the knee…I’ve heard stories of complications and whatnot with this surgery, and increased risk of arthritis. It’s a hard decision to make as I’d like to have full use of my knee again, but the potential costs, complications, etc of the surgery don’t really make it particularly appealing. I’ve only had one surgery (well 2) before in my life and I was very young and it involved some severe complications that required a second surgery to fix. So I’m sure I’m contending with some fears left over form that experience.

Not sure what to do at this point. I’m not one to have unnecessary surgery….I’m still trying to figure out if this is necessary. The MRI is the next step so I will go ahead with that and see what the results are.


Yoga mat bag – recommendations?

December 13, 2007

I’m finally breaking down and asking for a yoga mat bag for Xmas…up until now I’ve been using a strap and or a bandana to keep my bulky black mat from unrolling on the way to practice. As i now sometimes ride my bike I need a bag more than ever.

My current mat is a manduka black mat 71″. I’m wondering if folks have a recommendation for the best bag for this type of mat?

I would like bag that has a bit of room for some wet clothes/and or change of clothes and maybe an extra pocket to hold keys wallet, etc.

Please let me know your thoughts!

Bad Man

December 4, 2007

Bad yogi, bad blogger. I’ve been working really hard lately and long hours since I returned from Thanksgiving trip. It’s been about a week back and only 2 practices to show for it. Got to get back on the horse with that. I’ll try to keep things updated here. Good news is that the knee is feeling better. No practice is good for it.

New beginning

November 14, 2007

Lately, I’ve been letting go of many things, whether they are beliefs or actual situations and groups that haven’t been serving me, relationships etc. There is a promise in this letting go that I feel as a bodily sense of release and the sense that things are beginning again in the space I’ve created in my life. It is a familiar feeling and one that I associate with life changes, the kind that are intentional and oriented toward growth and maturity.

A little bit more

November 13, 2007

Today I returned to the studio for morning mysore and found myself doing a little bit more than I do in my home practice. This is sort of my deal at the studio, I used to push myself in a very aggressive and obvious way…and also do a lot of comparing (wandering driste syndrome). Well now just have this little urge to do a little bit more…and I did. I’ve been slowly adding a few seated postures, none of which i can do particularly well because of the knee thing. So today i did the Janus and started to do the Marichys, but felt some twinges in the knee. Like a good practitioner I listened to my knee and went into closing/finishing and savasana. The wandering driste thing is getting better, though today we had alot more people in mysore, I think because of this teacher’s intensive that is going on. Some of them had very impressive practices and I couldnt’ help but notice, and of course I ended up comparing myself and feeling demoralized about my crippled practice. I was able to snap out this rather quickly though and come back to my practice and my breath…so this seems like progress and the kind I can really make right now, the internal kind now that the knee is so dodgy.

I am very grateful about going to mysore again..the heat and the group energy is really helping me.


November 12, 2007

First of all I want to take a moment and thank those of you who commented and expressed sympathy because of my knee issues and other things I complained about. I’ve realized that I spend alot of time complaining here, and find that quite distasteful, but I can’t seem to stop. As far as my yoga practice goes I have many many complaints…particularly the fact that I can’t practice ‘correctly’ because I my knee issue. Anyway, I’ll try to curb the complaining in the future.

Basically everything I do causes pain in the knee at the moment, though there is less after practice than before, so I have deduced that this abbreviated practice is a good thing for me right now. I did take about 4 days off, before hitting the mat again, i wonder if I should take months off and perhaps that is what the knee needs. however I am driven by an obsessive fear that if I take a long break I will lose any modicum of flexibility and strength i have achieved and will feel so put off by the task of regaining that through practice that perhaps I woudl just give up Ashtanga all together. I’ve never been much of a quitter, I tend to show a lot of tenacity with most things I undertake, so I’m not sure if that could actually happen. I do know that my practice is not fun the way it used to be, it is slow, painstaking, somewhat painful, careful to the point of obsessiveness and not flowing the way it used to. There I go again with the complaining….anyway, I think I need to reevaluate why i doing this practice and to realize that it is the internal aspects breath, driste, bandha’s that are really imporant. I’m just sooo tired of dealing with the knee. And don’t say ‘just have surgery’ because that’s not an option for me right now. I’m been consulting with some folks, admittedly from alternative medicine, who feel it is completely possible that my knee can heal without a surgical intervention and I’ve chosen to go that route. The question is however, do I have the patience to stick with this long healing process? We shall see.

On another front I have recently started eating a small amount of meat every week as a health recommendation from another one of my alt. med. friends. So far I have felt much stronger and have seen no negative effects on my yoga practice. Again we shall see….I realized I had been having cravings for a long time for meat, but had been eschewing them for spiritual and health reasons. It is nice to have permission to indulge this.


November 5, 2007

Recovering from stomach issues all weekend, the knee is screwed. Well, its not really that bad, but I’m feeling very sorry for myself about it. I had been making such progress too.. I will try my best to be present and content despite the setback. I’ve cut my practices back to just standing postures until any pain disappears. Virasana with a block is about the best thing for the knee. It really stretches the muscles around the knee and allows for some space in there. Took a couple days off right after the injury and things sure did stiffen up int he muscles around the knee. My stomach is been weird since Friday I’ve had to give up coffee for a while which has been very enlightening. I realized how addicted to it I’ve become. This is the third day off, and I’m feeling a bit groggy, but not so bad. The second day after I take a break from coffee I usually have alot of sadness come up and I’ll burst into tears at the slightest provocation…the only thing I can deduce from this is that perhaps I use coffee to bottle up some emotions? Who knows. Anyway, I’ll get a chance to see now that I’m taking a break from it. I secretly enjoyed my short practice today…well i guess it wasn’t really a secret, but I did enjoy it. I didn’t feel totally knackered the way I have been lately….perhaps I was doing too much. Another forced break….maybe I can raise some awareness about the line between pushing my edge and exhausting myself.


November 1, 2007

So the knee crunched popped pretty badly yesterday. I mean WTF, everything was right on the road to recovery…no pains things were feeling good and getting more flexible. I was just stepping out the the car weight on that leg and must have twisted it or something, pop… then pop back in, but lots of pain….bah! Strangely it didn’t really hurt that much later on in the day could have been the ibuprofen and this morning the MCL and I think the edge of the meniscus is sore. I’m icing as we speak….about to take my ibu too…Looks like i’ll be back to just standing postures for awhile. Must be the season change or something. Maybe I’ll just quit this yoga business all together and go back to working out at the gym…blah! might try a short practice later today and see if the knee can handle it.

To Coffee or not to Coffee

October 29, 2007

Lately, I’ve been having a small cup of coffee in the morning before beginning practice. I had been practicing a bit later around 7:30-8, but have lately started getting up at 5:30 due to schedule changes, job demands etc. When I did my later practice it never really felt necessary to have coffee until after my practice, but as I’ve been getting up earlier and feeling groggy, stuffed up, and all around heavy the little caffeine boost really seems to help me get going and get on the mat. I know that Sharath and Guruji both consume coffee, so it seems fairly accepted in the Ashtanga world…I also know that many other bloggers also consume it. I’m curious what others have discovered in terms of its benefits and detriments…I used to feel coffee before practice made me stiffer, though I don’t notice this at all in my early morning practices. Perhaps because I’m already so stiff.


Music Meme

October 28, 2007

I decided to do this ipod shuffle meme that has been going around…

1) Olson – Boards of Canada
2)Raga Mahdu-Kauns – Ravi Shankar
3) Track 3 – Kings of Convenience (for some reason no track name here)
4)Go to Sleep – Radiohead
5) into the Rainbow vein – Boards of Canada
6) Njósnavélin Sigur Rós
7) Lonely – Lanterna
8) MOS 6581 – Carbon Based Lifeforms
9)Sparkly – Hope Sandoval
10) The mess we’re in – PJ Harvey

Nice stellar mix there….I’m surprised that more Radiohead didn’t come up as I have a ton of their stuff…them and Boards of Canada are my two musical addictions…..thought ‘The Mess We’re in’ features Thom Yorke from Radiohead as lead vocalist…so it is practically the same thing.

A.’s been working me hard in Mysore it was nice to have a rest day today..I;ve been much more sore lately —and stiff than i have been in quite a while. The cold seems to be bothering my knee a bit…need to be extra careful. Feels nice to be back again and sharing in the group energy again at least once a week.