Thursday, July 15, 2004


I suppose I had a couple of breakthroughs this week, then a step back (of course). On Sunday I actually attended a *class* with a *teacher* (I've been teaching 14 classes a week and practicing by myself; can you say "alienated?") and managed to hold my wrists on both sides in Pasasana. Having a big burly man adjust one is so much more effective than using a wall to push the elbow in and get the heels down. Then during a solo practice on Tuesday I *finally* floated into Bakasana B without touching the floor. Looking at the ceiling helped, just like Miss Y said it would.

But on Tuesday night I could barely walk, having pulled a muscle *or something* in my right quad. The pain was directly connected to the inner knee --- every time I rubbed it the quad would start on fire, so of course I *couldn't stop* rubbing it -- and MK's warnings about the dangers of standing up from BB with feet splayed came to the fore (apparently it wasn't just another lapsed Iyengar student fear-inducing myth). Then my left kneecap started to ache. Now I understand why I've been more loathe than usual (which is really saying something) to stand up from BB over the past few weeks. I'd come up halfway, push off the floor again, and not stand up time and time again. It was like I was stuck. I thought it was a mental block and would talk myself out of it ("It's all in your mind, just go up, what are you afraid of, get your favorite rug and try it again, or move to the other side of the room" -- which worked quite well six months ago in Mysore). But *maybe* it had something to do with the knees being at their limit and about to burst. There's *no way* I want to repeat that 11-month painful, swollen patella thing that medical doctors, chiropractors, accupuncturists and other quacks could not fix last year. And that's exactly what this felt like. So between rubbing the inner knee to see if the quad still hurt I iced and rested them on the way up to and during John Hiatt (the boyfriend's cup of chai but not mine, although I was pleasantly surprised --he's quite a raconteur -- *and* we ran into D's kids and a very likeable former Ed prior to the show) and later that night I did the knee exercises from Pain Free. On Wednesday they (knees) both hurt like hell so I oiled 'em up (some stuff from Pakistan that seems to work a lot like ayurvedic Pinda Thalia oil, and which helped cure my carpal tunnel a couple of years ago), did the exercises again and decided to try some sun salutations as a test. Despite being repeatedly interrupted by a helicopter that touched down on the suddenly roped-off four-lane street and which at first  seemed to be doing some kind of 911 drill but ended up dropping a new air conditioning unit and other strange silver boxlike things onto the roof of a nearby high-rise and removing a bunch of other giant metal junk (from a building that already has *tons* of AC's in the windows) I wound (two meanings to that word, choose one) up doing primary series (modifying Janu C of course); as I went along the knees actually felt better. I followed it up with some very gingerly backbends (hands and feet at the four corners of the mat.... yet the knees twitched slightly).

Today there was no pain so I did a full practice but of course was unable to hold the wrist in Pasasana or float into Bakasana B. I dropped back with help but at least the feet were where they should be and the knee didn't tweak. So we'll see. The plan is to walk up and down the wall with a block between the knees, dropping back lower and lower each time in order to teach the things (feet) to stay parallel. The problem is my achilles tendons / backs of the lower legs are really tight which makes it nigh impossible to stand up with feet flat and parallel. And I am too afraid to lift the heels when I come up to keep the feet straight. Any solutions or suggestions should be sent to Just keep in mind that I'm a tall, stiff girl, and that the best gymnists are all child prodigies the size of lawn jockeys....

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