Friday, April 12, 2013

This Week in Practice

I've had a rough week.  I pulled something in my middle/low back doing - of all things - a seated forward fold.  While relaxing into the stretch I felt a distinct "pulling" (for lack of a better word) right along my spinal column.  I wouldn't go so far as to say that it was a tearing of anything, but it was definitely a release and not in a good way.

This event led to some pain radiating outwards from my spine.  It has slowly gotten progressively worse during the course of the week.  I've tried resting it and that helps, but as soon as I even mildly stretch the area, the pain returns just as bad if not a little worse than before.

In addition to the back pain, I've been experiencing pain in the tendons that connect my hamstrings to my sit bones for over a year now.  I know this is a common injury in yoga and I've done everything I can think of to help the situation but I'm more than a little sick of it now.

These two things together prompted a visit to my doctor.  She ordered X-rays of my back just to be sure that there isn't a tiny fracture there.  (I really don't think there is, but I don't have the results yet.)  She did say the entire area surrounding that particular vertebrae felt tight.  She also ordered physical therapy, which is great.  The negative side is that I can't get in until April 29.  Not so great.  I've tried visiting/calling other PT offices and they can get me in but they won't accept my insurance.  Grrrr.  I can't afford the out-of-network cost, so I sit and wait.  And call my in-network PT office repeatedly to see if they get any cancellations.

This has added up to a great deal of frustration on my part with minimal practice.  I waver between taking rest and trying to do what I can with modifications.  Still, yoga is difficult without forward folds and even if I try not to bend deeply at all, I still seem to aggravate both areas.

All of this to say not a lot.  Except thanks for letting me vent.


  1. oh! feel better..glad you have started practicing again. it will help.
    as for the sit bones thing..i had that really bad when i started practicing yoga a few years ago, and it returns still from time to time. quads engaged in all forward bends..and back off anything that causes pain. (i also avoid any strong assists that might bring it is an issue of your body not being strong enough to support the flexibility) mine was so bad initially i could not fold or bend forward AT ALL. ashtanga has really helped to heal it for me.

    1. Thank you, Suzanne, for your encouragement and for understanding so well. I, too, have heard that folks with this injury should engage the quads in all forward bends but I don't really get why. Do you understand the reasoning behind that directive?
      And both of your comments came through so I published them both! Not sure why Blogger doesn't have some kind of confirmation after the first attempt. You're not the only person this happens to - myself included.

    2. i think i just didnt' realize the comment doesn't come up immediately.

      now that you ask, and i just tried it at work..i am trying to figure it out myself! i think it somehow is related to the bandhas. i may have to try to play with it and maybe do a post...the other thing my teacher told me was to focus on lifting the ribs/chest upward with each lengthen the spine (no pulling yourself forward with your arms)'s more about lengthening the spine than the hamstrings. there's a really good mark darby video on forward bends, i think on grimmly's blog. also important, a slightly rounded back -drishte to tip of nose and toward your torso (rather than the toe) - will help engage the bandhas, and save your hamstring tendons...

    3. LOL... let me know what you come up with! I'm all ears. Thanks for all of the valuable tips, too. My teacher already has me focusing my dristi as you described, but I really like the idea of lifting up but slightly rounding the back. Thank you so much, Suzanne!

  2. gah, it ate my comment first time
    glad you are feeling better.
    sit bones thing- i had that too really bad, when i started practicing yoga a few years ago. quads engaged in all forward bends and make sure you back off when you feel sensation in that area. it was one of my main hesitations about starting asthanga, all those forward bends..but ironically, it really healed this injury. (this means i can still feel it if i get a new pose, or just push too far, but day to is good)