One Small Problem at a Time

So, it’s been a couple of weeks since I injured my back and I’ve been able to do some Yoga – in fact my physiotherapist has recommended continuing as long as I’m more careful – but actually, I haven’t been doing it anywhere near as regularly.

Usually I love my classes so much that I also do 15-30 minutes of yoga each morning before I get ready for work and this was really helping me to feel more positive and embracing of the day ahead. Unfortunately however, when I stop doing something regularly I find it really hard to get back into the rhythm and flow of it, particularly when I can justify why, on this particular morning, it might be okay not to do it.

My back is fine now; I’ve been to a couple of weekly yoga classes since and had no issues at all. My yoga instructor has a fresh awareness of my back troubles and so is very clear about what to avoid, or do differently, when he’s instructing us which is great.

So I really have no excuse not to do morning yoga. I’m being lazy and I’m slipping into my old depressive ways. I’ve made so much progress so I need to pull myself out of this spiral and get back to making positive changes.

I want to explain to everyone what got me where I am now and, hopefully, remind myself how I felt then, and how yoga makes me feel now so I can take a step back from the precipice and choose self-care again. When I talk to anyone – be it a counsellor, my college tutor, my manager – about the various things in my life contributing to this overwhelming feeling of failure and loss of control each person responds with ‘no one should be expected to cope perfectly with that many things going on at once’. They’re absolutely right, so, no one should be expected to read about all of it one blog post. Instead, I’m going to break this up into my current mantra.

One small problem at a time. One small problem at a time. One small problem at a time.

 

 

 

 

Such a Clumsy Girl.

So. On to the Clumsy Girl part of this yoga journey.

Those of you who know me are well aware of how clumsy I can be. And also how lucky I can be – it’s all usually scrapes, bruises, trips and twists. I haven’t been rushed to hospital in an ambulance and I haven’t broken any limbs. I really feel like I shouldn’t have said that…

I thought I’d share with you all just a small number, lets say ten, of the many ways in which my family have determined that I’m a danger to myself, but thankfully not others:

  1. Absent-mindedly walked into the back-end of a police horse. Yes. How did I not see it there!?
  2. Slipped on the decking in my back garden and smashed my shin into the step by the back door. Thinking about it I think that might have been my first experience of Pigeon Pose…
  3. Cut a perfectly circular chunk out of my finger opening a can of coconut milk.
  4. One year later gave myself a matching scar on the other finger trying to drill a hole in some shells to make a necklace. 
  5. At secondary school I lobbed (yes, lobbed) a javelin so hard that it broke into at least 5 pieces when it hit the ground. Plus side – I was never allowed to do javelin again.
  6. Walked into a lamppost while texting and broke my nose. I still have a tiny, tiny bit of bone floating under the skin on the bridge of my nose.
  7. When playing hockey at high school I slipped and smashed a poor girl in the teeth with the hockey stick. Starting t rethink that ‘danger to others’ thing right now…
  8. Stabbed myself in the leg with a Stanley knife while doing some DIY. Thankfully nowhere near my femoral artery but you hear some stories…
  9. Fell down a hole trying to catch a shiny Pikachu in Pokemon Go. I had to wait for my husband to stop laughing before he could help me up.
  10. And finally, my favourite – glued both my eyes shut with superglue. I had to have my eyes scraped with a scalpel… perhaps this is a post in itself.

Despite all of these, I really don’t have much lasting damage. I do, however, have a damaged knee from my teens. I was throwing a stick for the dog, my hips twisted but my foot remained in place and my knee-joint twisted inside my knee cap causing the cartilage to tear and fold. Again, no rush to hospital – an attempt at some physio and eventually a consultation with an Orthopaedic Surgeon leading to keyhole surgery. It’s never quite been the same, clicks sometimes and occasionally it just gives out, or I ‘go dropsy’ as my husband likes to call it.

I also have a loose shoulder from a drunken roll off a garage roof and I’m prone to sciatica as the muscles in one side of my back tighten much more than the other and nerves get trapped. All in all, I should really have more damage but thankfully that’s it. So far at least. This post is feeling more and more ominous the more I write…

Anyway, to demonstrate my clumsiness, I wanted to tell you about my experience at yoga last night. I have to admit, I had poor judgement at the very start and I should have stopped there and then, I ignored the signs that my back wasn’t as stable as usual and I suffered the consequences. Unfortunately so did my yoga instructor – he’s mortified that I hurt myself in his class but it really wasn’t his fault.

We were three-quarters of the way through the class, I’m sure we were about to start the relaxation. We’d been doing a lot of back bends and twists that I hadn’t tried before so some I was doing the very basic version, others I was sitting out all together, knowing that I really didn’t want to hurt myself and perhaps this wasn’t the week to try. My back had felt… odd… during the initial corpse pose – I couldn’t quite find the position where i felt my back was supported by the floor – and so I was being cautious. Until we started Pigeon Pose.

Now, I had done Pigeon Pose before, when trying a class nearer to my home, and was pleasantly surprised that it wasn’t too challenging for me. I was also feeling a little like I hadn’t been able to do a lot of the poses on this particular evening so when my instructor guided us through one I knew I had done well previously I let go of my caution. Mistake number one.

In the position, with my right knee up behind my right palm, and my right foot somewhere behind my left palm, I’m laying forward over my leg, with my left leg outstretched, feeling really good about being able to do this one – and my weight shifts over to the right. Now, if I’d remained calm I’m sure I could have lift myself back to position and come out nice and slowly. Instead, I panicked. And the pesky all-or-nothing muscles in the right side of my lower back went into protection mode and seized up around my spine making it very difficult to get out of the position that was now really squashing my leg and – yep, you guessed it – my dodgy knee.

So, I’m out of action for a few days while I let both recover sufficiently, then I’ll be easing myself back in gently.

You may be wondering at this point, what relationship do I see between my clumsiness and my yoga journey?

Well. In my previous posts I explained how yoga made me feel, how my mental health was at a point where I needed to take control and make positive changes, but I’m learning that yoga has so many more benefits. Being the Clumsy Girl that I am, my balance is absolutely awful so I want to improve this. I’m hoping that I can strengthen my core and stretch those muscles in my lower back so that they all work together, at the same speed for a change. And I’m hoping that through learning the poses and working on my breathing I can become more aware of my body, more coordinated and mindful of my surroundings and can actually become less clumsy.

I’m hoping that through yoga, I can become a more stable person both mentally and physically. I’ll let you know how it goes…