Bad wrist

I mentioned briefly I have a bad wrist at the moment. Sadly it’s a yoga-induced injury. I have only had a couple in my 4 years practicing, and none serious but it’s still enough to knock me back a bit.

I am 4 weeks into a 6 week intro to Ashtanga course and have been trying to practice the Primary Series 3 times a week. First week went great, next week I was ill so restorative practices for a few days, then came illness-induced boredom. Itching to get back to my leaping and binding I was “playing” with jumping through- that great Ashtanga transitional move, and I leant too hard on my left wrist. Ow, sore, no weight bearing for a few days. Hence yoga-induced injury.

There is an backstory as to why I leant too hard on my left wrist but that painting/yoga injury story is for another day.

Bizarrely the day before I had been learning about how the wrist, unlike the ankle, is not developed for weight bearing. So in yoga, with the amount of poses that require us to put weight on our wrists (eg plank, chaturanga, downward facing dog) we must remember to recruit the other parts of the hand to ease the load on the wrist.

I must remember to not just allow the weight to sink into my wrist, but to press through my palms and fingers.

This is all well and good but a lot of weight bearing asanas require a tremendous amount of strength and energy. Energy used to hover over the ground in chaturanga means less energy is available to me to remember not to screw my wrists up. What I need is more ease in the pose, I need stronger abdominal support. So…

I will devote time every single frigging day to build my abdominal strength.

The reason why I lean into my left wrist over my right is because of the aforementioned earlier painting/yoga injury. My shoulders have a tendency to stiffen up which puts pressure on my over-used right arm and causes my right elbow to not be able to hold my weight in chaturanga sometimes. I have devised a sequence of stretches that help my arm. So…

I will keep up with the shoulder stretches.

Finally, and most importantly.

I will never ever ever again “play” with jump throughs when I am not warmed up. Ashtanga is NOT for playing with. It is a serious practice and I must always do it with a straight face. It will in turn reward me by not giving me a wrist injury again.

Chaturanga!

I’m not entirely happy or entirely sure what I’m doing yet with this blog but often the best thing to do, I’ve found, is to just dive straight in and have a go. So I’ll keep on going, hoping I’ll learn on the job.

I’ve been thinking a lot recently about change and about stability (or stagnation depending on your point of view) My life for the past 3 years hasn’t changed much in terms of routine or circumstances. I moved home after university to live with my parents, my boyfriend stayed over and never went home. A few things have changed, I had a short lived job, I started and stopped counselling, I started going to yoga classes, I started running… but essentially I am at the same state: an unemployed depressed woman living in her parents attic. This has been necessary. It has provided me with the security to recover from this debilitating problem. Still, sometimes I think: “3 years… a long time, and what have I done?” and I think there’s people I know who have had 2 children in the time I’ve taken to recover from depression. It scares me.

But then I remind myself that it’s essential and inevitable in life to go through periods of extreme change and therefore periods where… nothing much happens. If you’re lucky things just tick along, if not well, you can do something about that.

This roundabout route takes me to the title of my post, the fantastic yoga asana of chaturanga dandasana. Like a lot of people it hasn’t been an easy relationship. The first time I encountered it I wondered why it was necessary to have this strange press up thing in the middle of everything. It wasn’t possible for me, it was uncomfortable and bewildering. But I stuck with it, armed with my new knowledge that if I practiced this strange move I would get better at it! What a revelation! So after a few belly-flopping months I had built enough strength to sort of follow along (at this time I was only doing dvds) I summoned up enough courage to go to a class, sure that my lack of ability in chaturanga would be weeded out at once. It wasn’t, my strength was definitely above average and I was shocked at all the sticking out elbows and bottoms everywhere. My first yoga class was a revelation I can tell you, I thought everyone did yoga like Rodney Yee or Shiva Rea.

My ability with chaturanga has steadily improved since then, 2 years ago when I first stepped in a class. I can hold it, I can repeat it over and over again, I can sort of jump back into it. However I still wasn’t happy with getting out of it. Somehow my knowledge of this was missing. I lowered into it fine (elbows in) then I clumsily jumped onto the tops of my feet into upward facing dog before going back into down dog, turning the left foot and then the right foot over the toes.  How do those people glide so gracefully through this vinyasa? It was a mystery. So to try to solve this I did what I do best: I turned to the internet. To this post and I tried it. 3 weeks later it almost comes naturally. Mystery solved! But I still was walking back into down dog from up dog. Tuesday I was doing just that when I thought, why don’t I just try to roll over my toes? So I went back into up dog and prepared to roll back and it just happened! Strange to think of 2 years worrying about not doing it right, of breaking my toes when all along it was there.

My yoga practice recently is changing in leaps and bounds. And the thing is, I’m not even trying to make it change! It is just happening, these little changes, shifts of viewpoints and realisations. So sometimes things change if you just carry on, without grasping at a result. You do what you want to do, you will get to where you want to go.

That’s a relief!