‘Why fearing?’ Because it hurts

A quick practice update as we head into the heart of the summer — the warm time of year that Jörgen Christiansson has promised will lead to plenty of opening and loosening of my hamstrings and other obstinate body parts.

Aside from my left shoulder aching a bit — I’m going with the head-in-the-sand approach that nothing serious (i.e. torn) could be wrong — I seem in good shape. In particular, my knees — the right especially (which earned a “right knee is broken?” from Tim Miller the last time I was down in San Diego) — feel pretty OK.

Via ashtangayoga.info

Which doesn’t mean I’m pushing any Padmasanas or Janus or Tiryam Muhka. No, I absolutely am still shying away from any full flexion of the knee.

And I do know: “Avoidance is not the answer.”

That’s easy to deal with conceptually. Of course avoiding something isn’t the answer. It will just keep waiting there, never going away. It will have to be faced, sooner or later. So — just get it over with. (Just do it?) And a yoga practice is supposed to help us face those critical moments.

Easier said than done.

For nearly a year and a half, when I’ve gotten to this place and then pushed things with my knee, something’s popped. Never so bad that we’re talking surgery, but enough to hurt and to restrict range of motion again.

Enough to make anything past a very certain point full of fearing.

So here I am. I can continue to be overly mindful (i.e. chicken) or I can try to move ahead as gradually and carefully as possible, knowing that each time I’ve tried that before it has failed. My sense — my instinct, I guess — is that even carefully may be too much.

And I can’t help fearing to find out if this time is any different.

Posted by Steve


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Two Ashtangis write about their practice and their teachers.

8 thoughts on “‘Why fearing?’ Because it hurts”

  1. I have the same problem with my right knee. It has been three years now after the first “pop” in ardha baddha padma padottanasana. SInce then, bending my knee past a certain point, it “clunks” out of joint, and if I go too far in padmasana it “binks” out and hurts and I can bend it less for about a week or so. It has not gotten any better in almost three years, and it is frustrating because I had a really easy time in poses like marichyasana D, etc. and now I cant do it on the left side anymore, nor can I bind in padmasana. I am writing this because I have come to the conclusion that since I have had torn cartilage in the past, and had two scopes/arthroscopies, I am going to get an MRI and possibly just bit the bullet and get it fixed because at this point I am quite certain that the offending issue is a piece of torn cartilage, and I think if I get it snipped out, I will recover nicely and not have this problem any more. I have recovered really well in the past, but it was more than 20 years ago. Anyway, I would be interested in hearing how things go with your knee and thanks for sharing.

    1. Bobbie here. To fix or not to fix, that is the question. It’s hard to explain to folks why we keep practicing when pain is involved. I opted to fix my shoulder, even though it meant a year recovery. It also took about a year with my knee. But I learned a lot in the recovery process, and in spite of “missing” all those practices, I don’t feel like I’m “behind.” No matter what you decide to do, learn from it!

    2. An update on the knee isn’t as exciting as I’d like. It was feeling better, with a bit more range of motion, until I went a little too far last week (in lotus for Yoga Mudra, again) and it is sensitive again. Honestly, while I haven’t told Bobbie this in person — so she’ll read it when everyone does! — I think maybe I torn the medial meniscus years ago, when I first hurt my knee. We’ll see what the Rolfer says, but I am starting to think it’s a real issue.

      The clunking and binking you’re talking about sound very familiar. The worst is when, for a few seconds (maybe five to 10) it’ll really lock in place. Not fun.


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