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Loose Ligaments Sink Hips

June 6, 2011

Six days of teacher training down, 14 to go.  Too much in my brain to make sense of it all, so I present here in bullet format some things, mostly so maybe (please!) I can make sense of it all later.

  • Since I hyperextend my knees and elbows, I probably should have realized earlier that the other ligaments in my body would be similarly loose and weak.  In retrospect, this might very well be what Dr Backcracker meant when she said “You seem to have loose ligaments in your spine.  You shouldn’t twist so deeply unless you can strengthen your erector spinae first.”  Had I listened to her, rather than just throwing my legs behind my head and going on my merry way down Intermediate Lane, perhaps now my SI joint would be intact and I’d be able to twist at all.  Good bye, Pasasana, I hardly knew yee.  The marichys and anything starting in “pavrita” are also but fond memories.
  • Though I’m built like the long line of German farmhands from whence I came, certain critical muscles are sorely (pun very much intended) underused by yours truly, namely pretty much anything on the back side of me between my lats and my hamstrings, inclusive. Working these things consciously my vinyasas changes everything instantly.
  • If I can coax my lazy ass (literally) to engage just a bit in the glute med region, my flat feet become normal feet.  It’s that easy.  Years of ugly orthopedic shoes and plantar fasciitis wasted.  Poo.  This also makes it easier to carry heavy things, like mats and snacks and bags of nasty sweaty clothing. O fortune! Also, it puts the “balance” in “standing leg balance.”  So at least I can make peace with UHP, even if supta K is not for me for a while.  Sigh. It’s like being the new kid in Jr High again: my only friend is the kid I kind of don’t like at all.
  • I really like practicing in a Mysore room where no one gets uptight about rules. As a control freak and Type A Hermione Granger-esque rule connoisseur, this took me a few days.  But it really helps me to accept that practicing full Primary injured is stupid if I can concoct a full-length practice out of things that are safe and things I need to be doing to strengthen all my weak links. The utter absence of brownie points for those classic gateway poses is a blessing.  If only I were this sensible of my own accord.
  • I love assisting Mysore even more when I can share alignment tips that will really improve the core of a pose, rather than just yankin’ and crankin’ them into it.  But I kind of fear that some of the students won’t be so into it, since my home studio is heavily influenced by someone much more traditional,. But I look at the practices of the people in this Mysore room and I think there must be something to it.  Besides, we’re all always injured and it fucking sucks.  Can that really be the point?
  • Overactive assists let people (okay, let me) relax too much into poses that should be active.  This is the stuff of torn hamstrings and broken vertebrae and sacrums divorcing their ilia.
  • I never want to lean my body weight on someone in a forward fold again.
  • I love the beauty of a flowy Primary practice where everything is five breaths in and out, smooth transitions, etc.  I get the whole “moving meditation” thing, I do.  And I love it.  But there are more than one kind of meditation.  Even in seated meditation, there’s the counting breaths kind and the emptying your mind kind and the focus on this mandala kind (my apologies to people better versed in these practices for my poor characterization)… so why can’t you achieve moving meditation while moving more slowly and focusing on what your body needs next?  (Rhetorical: you actually can).

Okay, that’s all for now.  Time to get some rest so I can break my brain some more tomorrow.


5 Comments leave one →
  1. June 6, 2011 10:33 pm

    so interesting! with whom are you taking this TT?

    • June 7, 2011 10:12 pm

      It’s with the kindly folks here:

      The TT teachers were Ashtangis in the olden days who have moved to a more alignment-based philosophy over time. The one who keeps breaking my brain went from Iyengar to Ashtanga and seems to be somewhere in between now (not that I really know what an Iyengar practice looks like, so maybe I’m talking out my very sore ass on that point).

  2. June 8, 2011 12:48 pm

    Toronto! That city has it all going on, except for the weather part. Yeah. That’s not so great. Well, carry on! We’ll be waiting to hear all about it when you’re done!

  3. June 8, 2011 4:03 pm

    Lisa I’m sorry you injured yourself! I am always down for your assists regardless of where I am working so assist away, please! Before I left for India my SI joints were in a bad shape and then I backed off and got into working Setu Bandha and I always tell people that was the cure. Whenever I feel any sensation now I go to Setu Bandha, chill in it good (or as much as you can call “chilling” in Setu), and it helps. The word on the street while I was in Mysore was, that “injury” that ranges from sensation to debilitating pain, is a natural process that happens during the opening needed in supta kurma’ and that you need to be really careful when it happens, inflammation is all around–encouraging I know.

    Also, I agree with you 100% with moving more slowly. My practice (and breath) is much slower than the speed of the traditional counts and I love it that way- until I hit a led class. I think it lets you settle and ease into the poses more mindfully. I’m never on anyones clock when it comes to this other than my own. Feel better, see you soon. XO

    • June 11, 2011 7:00 pm

      @Loo, TO is the place to be… May through September! But the weather is no worse than my home, so I don’t much mind.

      @ Rae – very interesting about setu! I’d been backing off that for while due to some neck things, but the neck things are less of an issue since I switched back to my old (gentle) chiropractor (EB was not the problem, just to be clear there), so maybe I can spend some more time there now. Actually, it makes sense – the external rotators get weak, allowing the ilium to internally rotate and pull away from the sacrum… setu is pretty much the only pose in primary to force you to strengthen those…. hmm. Another thing to think about in Mysore next week!

      DB also has me engaging the hell out of my lats in updog, which really relieves the pressure. We work so hard in primary series that we forget that it’s still possible to let important muscles slack and just pull our way through on whatever our strengths are. We just need to remember to keep those muscles working while we stretch so we don’t rip ourselves limb from limb. I don’t buy the argument that joint injury is a necessary part of the growth process, or that taking analgesics to get through practice is normal. Call me a heretic!

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