Monthly Archives: August 2013

Restringing my bow…

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Dhanurasana - Bow Pose

Recently, I injured myself attempting a yoga pose that I hadn’t attempted before…it was too much for my current upper body strength and in an attempt not to fall badly, I fell gently but awkwardly took my weight in such a way that I twisted my shoulder away from my neck, pulling the joint where my clavicle meets my sternum out of place…in turn that twisted the joint at the other of the clavicle…I had a little muscle soreness, and a twinge in certain lifted arms positions but nothing serious, or so I thought…

After over 3 hours driving a week or so later, I was in agony…I could not take a deep breath, I could not lift my arm above my shoulder in any direction without searing pain shooting along my collar bone and through my shoulder joint, I couldn’t even cross my arms to get dressed properly but instead had to dress the bad arm first and then gingerly try to maneuver myself into my top without catching the trigger point for the pain…Enough was enough, and a trip to the osteopath explained the cause of the pain…not only the twisting of my clavicle resulting in misaligned joints, but related muscle spasm aggravated by driving, and just to add to the fun, earlier that week a long stint in the dentist’s chair for the repair of a long-ago filled tooth on that same side…

I was told to rest, to move slowly, to listen to my body…

I did those things…for over a week I avoided lifting my arm, I laid off my physical yoga practice and I found new positions to sleep that didn’t drag further on my sore and sorry shoulder…

And I found it hard, so hard, to do what I tell my students in every class…listen to your body, rest when you need to, stop any practice that causes you pain…but the insistent pain in certain movements forced me to listen…and even my old faithful Downward Dog was off limits…

But after just over a week, two treatments with osteopaths (one in Devon, and thank heavens for therapists who will see you in an emergency on a Friday night!; the other back in Portsmouth, and thank heavens for therapists who will squeeze you in at the end of their clinic before they go on holiday!) ¬†and resting my arm & shoulder as much as life in general will permit, I finally found I could begin to move a little more without pain…

It is a little over two weeks since that first osteopathic treatment, and I have full range of motion back, but I am not yet completely pain free…if I overdo it, my shoulder & my neck complain loudly and I have a little catch point just about half way along my clavicle that squeals at me if I try to push my body too far…

But the odd thing is, that this new challenge, this restrictive injury has only served to fire my practice of yoga…to remind me that it is yoga that keeps me strong, helps me to stay whole…and that there are no short cuts…regular practice, humility, patience, determined discipline to return not only to my mat each day but to poses and practices that my mind or body resist….to lead myself into a safe, strengthening, life-affirming practice…to reach beyond those safe poses, to stretch just a little further, to lift just a little higher, to work just a little harder…to find a new edge to my practice and explore there a while until I feel the impetus to push over that edge and grow again…

And so, as I find that I can move again, I gently venture into poses long forgotten from my personal practice or not yet attempted for fear of failure…I am being inspired and supported by Instagram of all things…technology is a blessing almost as often as it is a curse (think restricting screen time for kids & procrastination-station for adults)…I initially resisted posting too many yoga poses pictures, for fear of allowing ego into the equation…but I realised this, the challenges being set are being joined by yogis of all ages, of all shapes & sizes, of all levels of ability…there is a spirit of community in those challenges, a mutual support, a genuine pleasure taken by all in supporting all-comers…there is beauty, poise, grace and humility in the photographs being share…and there is humour and irreverence and a light-hearted approach to a heartfelt practice and I am delighted by how all this brings my own practice into sharp focus and encourages me to vary and adapt my personal practice every day…and it’s fun! ¬†Check it out: #yogaaday with Grow Soul Beautiful; #happyhealthyyogis; #yogangsters with @masumi_g and myriad more…

There are poses that I know have the capacity to aggravate my recent injury and so they are teaching me to approach my practice once more with a beginner’s mind…slowly, carefully, and with full awareness instead of from a place of habit…one such is Dhanurasana or Bow Pose…I have found backbends to be a difficult and uncomfortable practice since the birth of my second son, and I am ashamed to admit that I have neglected them in my practice…the beautiful thing about this injury and working with it and through the Instagram challenges is that backbends have arrived firmly back on my mat and once again and I am cherishing their heart-opening, throat-opening, deep-breathing essence…

Dhanurasana was once a favourite in my personal practice, I relished the wide space it creates in the heart centre of the body and the sheer physicality of the breath awareness it brings as you rock on your belly…and then it became a pose that I avoided and reminisced over…well, no more, it may not yet have its former glory as it takes shape with my form, but I feel glorious when I move and stretch and breathe into this pose…

My bow has a new string, and I am poised, ever the watchful warrior again, listening to my body, watching my breath and battling the temptation to set my bow aside and let my awareness slide, keeping my mind alive and my heart wide open…

OMx

 

 

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