Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Practicing asanas is a mental exercise


1. Discipline
The first asana is discipline, I often think. It starts with going to bed early. This makes it easier to get up in the morning. The discipline to practice every day in the morning gets easier the more often this muscle is used. When a behaviour becomes a  routine, a habit, less discipline is necessary.
For the time being it's very easy for me to practice. I came to the conclusion that it's better to practice yoga than not to practice. My practice is not pain free. So what.

2. Coolness
This leads to the second mental state. It helps not to be involved that much in whatever one is doing. To observe what's happening is a great start to develop a cool attitude. Today kurmasana is possible, tomorrow not. Who cares?

3. Focus
To learn to focus and to change the focus is such a great skill also off the mat. I check my posture, I check if my asana is stable. Then I focus on the breath.

4. Faith
To have faith that daily practice will improve the practice helps a lot to have a long long breath. It can take years and decades till an asana looks fantastic (own view!). For critical yoginis this can take a bit longer than for those who are happy very fast and not so critical.

Today I focused on forward bending asanas. I alter primary with second series. What a joy when I realized that I could lift my body in kurmasana.



Tomorrow back bending is on the schedule.

Monday, June 12, 2017

This makes me happy


To motivate myself I watched a video by Kino on omstar.com before my yoga practice. It was about eka pada sirsasana. I wanted to see if I was still able to do the four key asanas of primary: Marichyasana D, supta kurmasana, garbha pindasana and baddha konasana. Supta kurmasana is the most challenging one for me. The idea was to start with one leg behind the head....
I'm able to sit in lotus pose, I could bring my feet to my front, so what could stop me?
After eka pada sirsasana I tried supta kurmasana again after a very long time. I could bring my legs behind my head and I could bind. Hallelujah.

I could dance around out of joy, yet this pose doesn't allow so much movement. Not much thinking happens either when in this pose. Just being in this posture is it.

90 minutes I was on the mat. The last 10 minutes I lied on my back and relaxed. It's a good idea to alter primary with second series. One day I focus on forward bending asanas, the other day on back bending asanas.

To stand up after all these highlights of today was difficult. Oh my, my back screamed for attention. I walked up and down, up and down, like a lion in a cage and my back relaxed.

Tomorrow back bending.




Sunday, June 11, 2017

A tiny wrong movement


A tiny wrong movement and I have the hell on earth. The faster I can relieve the muscle cramp, the faster I escape from this hell called lower back pain. Yet this is sometimes a challenge. What luck that this lower back pain is not permanent.

I practiced. It started wonderful. I felt flexible, I was focused. To get from a back bending asana like ustrasana to a counter pose seems to be difficult. My back gets confused and this was it then. My timer is set. I want to be 90 minutes on the mat no matter what happens. I could continue after this sudden shock pain. Twists always feel good. They released my muscles. I could even do mayurasana. I finished my yoga practice with padmasana, left leg first to balance my body again.

I have a list now of activities that help when this sudden pain arises:
1. walking around (to get out of an asana and to stand up can be challenging)
2. twists
3. rolling on the foam roll (It's important to have it handy.)
4. baddha konasana
5. Engaging the abdomen and bandhas
6. a shower (afterward)

Here I sit in paradise again. Pain is gone.

The experience from this morning strengthens my opinion that I can stabilize this SI joint when I do strength training. My Monday morning will start with Day 1 of strength training. It's the third start.

Friday, June 09, 2017

The SI joint is misplaced, not blocked


My SI joint is not blocked, it's misplaced. The right terminology helps to understand what happened, it also points at possible healing methods.

If one speaks of a blocked SI joint, one might think: OK, then I go to a chiropractor. He/she makes a jerky movement with my body and everything will be OK. The joint will be in place again, unblocked so to say.
Yet this is not the case. An SI joint cannot be blocked.

An SI joint can be misplaced.
This might be the cause for lower back pain on the right or left side of the back. Some have pain on both sides. The pain comes from another source. The muscles get cramped around this joint. To release these muscles helps but only for a while. The cause, the misplaced SI joint is still misplaced.

Why can an SI joint be misplaced?
There are many reasons, I think it can be helpful if we understand the why.
1. Pregnant women often have lower back pain. The hips open during the pregnancy. This can cause a lot of pressure on the SI joint. After the pregnancy the body can adjust itself. Back pain disappears.
2. Sitting all day long in a wrong position might be a reason for a misplaced SI joint.To move more, to sit correctly can be a solution.
3. Too much weight on the body can be another cause. Many people are overweight these days. It can put too much pressure on these tiny joints at the end of the spine. To lose weight might help. Others lift weight. This might lead to the same issues for the same reasons. I consider weight lifting not as healthy.
4. Imbalanced and overstretched ligaments around the joint  is another reason. This might be the cause for yoga practitioners. Too hard adjustments or one-sided poses can cause this pain in the long run. I consider it wrong that I put always the left leg first behind my head in supta kurmasana. I was asked to take the right leg first in padmasana. Also here I think it's better to alter the legs to keep the body in balance.

The reason why the SI joint is misplaced can point at healing methods. It can be to lose weight, it can be to give up weight lifting. It can be that major life style changes could be a solution. Most people sit too much.

How can I heal my misplaced SI joint?

What does not help:
1. Pain killer only helps to be pain free for a limited time. Family doctors give pills, orthopedist give injections. Finally it's the same superficial treatment. I don't say that it cannot help sometimes.
2. To stop Ashtanga yoga is also only a solution for a short period of time. Soon I'll get issues because of inactivity, stiffness and weakness.

What can I do?
I think I have to do strength training. Strong abdomen support the back.
A few days back I found a video by a woman who had SI joint related pain and became pain free after having found exercises that strengthened her hip muscles.



During my practice today I took care to engage the abdomen. I was astonished what was possible. Yet at the end nothing was possible anymore.
How to get into the shower, I wondered. It was difficult to put off the yoga clothes. Finally the hot water and then the cold water calmed my back. I feel good again. The pain is volatile.





Monday, June 05, 2017

It gets worse


This back pain is behind me like a stalker.
Yesterday I had planned to do the asana sequence from Rishikesh that starts with salamba sarvangasana. It should be something easy as I had not so much time. Just nine asanas, I thought, a piece of cake for someone who has more than 10 years of Ashtanga yoga behine me. It was not possible to get into that inversion asana, shoulder stand. My back screamed. A tiny movement and the pain can become horrible.

This morning my back didn't feel much better. So I thought it would be a good idea to start practicing in the afternoon. I did some poses in the afternoon, yet didn't experience flow or joy. Frustrated I stopped.

Kino's videos on omstar shooed me  out of my mental valley. I have to pick myself up every day where I am. I cannot compare my practice with the practice 2 years ago.  I have to work around the pain.