The good and the bad…

I’m bummed out a bit. I know I shouldn’t be, but I still am.

It’s that darn left shoulder. There has been pain there ever since I did a deep Supta Kurmasana 3 weeks ago, putting both legs behind the head while sitting (with David’s assistance) and then binding the hands together as I settle down. I’ve done Supta Kurmasana before with no problem, so I’m not sure if it was that  pose in particular. All I know was that my left shoulder began to hurt. It is not a ball and socket joint pain, which may be good. It is a dull pain that starts from one point along the bony ridge of my shoulder, at the very end of the clavicle. If I press on it, it hurts. Lately, when I pull on something, pain radiates. I can’t tell if it is one of those fluky pains that will disappear…it certainly has hung around for the last 3 weeks, so that’s not good. Could it be a pulled muscle? It hurts especially when I do Baddha Padmasana now, when before this was not a problem. Then one day Ava asked me to hold her, so automatically I had her cradled in the crook of my left arm. Not good — my left shoulder protested quite a bit afterwards!!

I guess I should just go see a doctor, but a part of me feels so resistant; maybe I am afraid of more bad news. “Lay off for a few weeks,” Dr. W. might say. He might as well just tell me to stop breathing if he is recommending a stop to yoga and surfing for a few weeks.

I feel sometimes that the pain has over-shadowed the good parts of my practice, and I’m trying hard to maintain sight of the positive. It is hard to find the positives when the pain — even when it is just a whisper — feels over-present.  For example, a very good thing was that David had suggested that I try Bhekasana, which I was able to do without too much pain. And I was able to accomplish a good bind in Pasasana, and even remained upright after David let go of me! (Usually I fall back on my bottom and fumble along on the other side). But nowadays I am afraid of what would follow if the pain does not go away…I would have to stop, go back to just Primary when I’ve just made so much progress…oh, there goes my ego again. Pain is so persistent…I avoid pain-killers because I’ve heard that can cause more injury…but even the slightest discomfort gets my anxiety going: Is it going to get worse? When will it go away? what am I doing wrong?

Thus far, I’ve been trying to take it easy these past couple of weeks, dropping down to a 4-day per week practice and allowing a 1 and 2-day rest period, which seems to help a bit. Today I stepped back instead of jumping through and all that fancy-schmancy stuff…sigh. My darn 40-something body. I really shouldn’t blame it on age, though, because there are quite a few women in their 40s who have beautiful Intermediate practices at the shala, and I am totally inspired by them. I just hope that my own body will be as forgiving. I realize that it is not just about the body. For example, in my 20s or 30s, my body would have been stronger and more pliable…but my mind would not have been ready for it.

Well, maybe I will try to focus on the good stuff now. So, I made it to Bhekasana. That means =  yay! It’s still progress. Perhaps I can view it this way, too — pain keeps the ego in check. The divine powers that be really have a good way of keeping us humble.

Also, we had an awesome visit with my sister and brother-in-law who flew out from Pittsburgh over Thanksgiving. I took my sister Nina to her first true Ashtanga class — our teacher Aimee was so kind and patient, guiding her through the Surya Namaskaras A and B, and all the way to Pashimottanasana. She could barely move the next day and I was afraid that perhaps it was too much for her. But just the other day, she sent me an email saying that she wanted to try out Ashtanga again — I thought it was amazing. Maybe she does see how wonderful it is!

And, we got our Christmas tree and lights up. The kids were excited, and so was I.

Nina and Erik are due for another trip to see us in January. I warned her that I may be dragging her to our next Ashtanga class..

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