and then it happened. My first acute owie in Ashtanga.
I’ve always prided myself on never having been injured. I always tell people that no one in my shala ever seems to be injured, or if they are, it is always from something that happened outside of the shala. And even what happened to me today may be more a result of a missed appointment with Dr. Jaime Blau, my awesome chiropractor (and by missed, I mean that I forgot to make an appointment even though I was suspecting that I was sorely in need), than a result of the Ashtanga practice or, perish the thought, anything that my teacher did or said.
See, I’ve had this neck crick for a while. It’s been hard to look up on the second side of Uttitha Trikonasana for at least the past month. I chalked it up to ponytailed chakrasana. But I pretty much also knew that it was going to involve a trip to Dr. Jaime. Still, I went about my business, doing my practice, wondering if all of the legs behind the shoulders were further aggravating whatever subloxation was brewing.
Today, practice was one of those super-intense, super-sweaty practices where you suddenly remember just how flexible you can be when the air outside is pushing 60 degrees, rather than lurking around 16 (farenheit, farenheit!!). I jumped through with straight legs every single time, which has never happened before. I pressed up several times in “desha – lift/saptadesha – lift” (I’m using the sanskrit counting method to refer to the point where you inhale and lift up right before jumping back to chatturanga in the seated poses) just barely grazing my feet, which hardly ever happens. Despite serious sweat dripping everywhere, despite practicing in board shorts (really board short-shorts…I didn’t realize it was going to be so sweaty…I find that the hotter it is, the MORE I need to wear to control the sweat; when it’s cold out, shorts work best), I was binding everything easily, grabbing wrists or close to it. Bujapidasana was kind of ugly though – it was more like the Wicked Witch of the West melting into a puddle of water than a fairly strong arm balancer doing the pose. But as goes Bujapidasana, so the opposite goes Kurmasana, at least in terms of the use or disuse of sweat. I just squished right into Kurmasana….ah…..
Sir bound my hands, and they were going to stay there. I knew it. And to the extent that it was going to be a challenge, I was going to hold on for dear life. Perhaps the error of my ways was that fateful decision though. Because when Sir started to rotate my left ankle into place….YOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I have never jumped so high and so fast out of a posture where my stomach is touching the floor while my legs are over my shoulders. At first, Sir thought I just sort of spazzed out, like mentally, because he suggested that it’s normal to feel that the sacral area is getting a big stretch. He offered that I jump back and start again. And I really wanted to. But I felt paralyzed…by fear mostly, and some blossoming pain and stiffness in my lumbar spine/sacrum.
I looked over at him and mouthed, “I think I’ll skip it today.”
Then I just sat there not knowing what to do. He came over, and I told him that I felt a twang or a pull in my left sacro-iliac area but that I think it’s a good sign – that something might be opening up. He told me that a positive outlook is good for healing and that I should do garba pindasana and keep practicing.
My garba was like the best ever. A mere 13-“month” gestation, with hands almost touching the forehead the whole time – or at least one hand almost touching the forehead and the other hand touching that hand. Backbends were fine. Halasana felt like crap, but my headstand was rock solid, and my baddha padmasana was probably the best it’s ever been – an actual grip on each foot and forehad to the floor.
I went home and crawled into bed and stayed there with a heating pad for three hours. Then I picked the kids up from school and went straight to Dr. Jaime who gave me some kind of electroconvulsive therapy. Kidding. But it did involve electrodes. Only they were on my lower back. No brain scrambling to my knowledge. Then she gave me the most popcorn-popping-cracklin’ adjustments I’ve ever had. Damn, I needed that. Why did I not go like six weeks ago!!!!!!!!!
I hope I hope I hope I hope that I don’t wake up in pain.
But here’s the thing. I had an epiphany about Supta K. Right now, I don’t WANT to cross my ankles. I only WANT to bind my hands. It’s normal to bind the hands first, and for me, the hand binding came second. I want to go back to the normal progression and stay in hands-bound legs-straight mode for a while and just SAVOR it. Just ENJOY that hand binding feeling and let my chest open and let my shoulders soften, and when I’m good and ready, THEN we can work on ankles.
I already have Garba Pindasana. What more do I need right now? I’m good to go for months. No more ankles for now.