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Judy, you have a point about attitude.......

Posted by Kate on 12/12/00 at 09:08 (034750)

Hi all,
Without making light of anyone's pain (which I know firsthand) I have to contribute my thoughts on a positive attitude.....
If we constantly concentrate on the pain, and the cure, and the treatment alternatives, and the pain, and the splints, and the stretches, and the pain, and the inserts and the orthotics, and the shoes and the pain....
All we're doing is focusing on the things that irritate us most, and those things become all encompassing. I know, because I do it. Feet are a big part of my life (how strange does that sound?). I live with my foot pain (or used to...thank you ESWT), and I work with everyone else's foot pain.
I have found that creative visualization works wonders, and in fact it gets me through some terribly painful days. But the thing that really does it for me is I keep repeating this mantra......'I complained about my feet until I met a man with no legs.' It puts things into perspective for me. And also, whenever my feet hurt, my 15 year old daughter in her infinite wisdom, offers to 'kick my knee.' (Which is to make my knee hurt worse than my foot.) But the 'do you want me to kick your knee,' has become something of a cure-all in our family. Recently, when my Mom was having a rather terrible bout with diviticulitis, and was in terrible pain, my 8 year old son offered to kick her knee, and we all laughed ourselves silly, inlcuding my mother, who had to hold her stomach. This also helped to lighten the moment when my Dad was recovering from back surgery!
So, to all of the very special people in heelspurs.com land.......
'Want me to kick your knee?'
I truly hope you all have a wonderful holiday, and that you can all find something to be happy about, and something wonderful to take your mind off of your feet for even a little while.

Kate

Re: Judy, you have a point about attitude.......

Julie F on 12/12/00 at 10:15 (034758)

You're absolutely right, Kate. It's why I was not in favour of limiting the posts and discussions on the board to foot matters ( as was suggested after the election scrap). One of the many good things about the board is that people do talk about things other than feet, and I think that's very important.

I had to laugh at your mantra. One of our best and oldest friends has no legs - he lost them both as a pilot in the second world war, one below the knee, one above. I often think about Sam when my foot hurts! However real and persistent pain is, it does help to be reminded that there are worse things.

Thanks for these thoughts, and for all the support you give to the people in your care.

All good wishes, Julie

Re: No one kicked me in the knee....but what feet?

wendyn on 12/12/00 at 10:56 (034762)

Ouch ouch ouch. Have injured myself - I think at yoga. I have ocassionally had pain above the breastbone (sternum?) in the muscle. It can be very painful - and only happens when I move a certain way. Woke up with it again this morning 4:17 a.m. to be precise. Hurts some in between my shoulder blades and then above the sternum (that's the big pain).

Like I said - I've done this before, but never this bad. Any thoughts from anyone - especially you yoga folks? I have blamed it on the past on weight training but I haven't been near the weights in a week - but I did go to yoga last night.

I normally stay well away from anti-inflams because of side-effects but I'm taking kids motrin this morning and it seems to be helping (remember I'm pretty little so sometimes I think the adult doses are just too much for me).

Re: No one kicked me in the knee....but what feet?

alan k on 12/12/00 at 11:25 (034764)

do you know what pose might be causing it?

alan

Re: No one kicked me in the knee....but what feet?

wendyn on 12/12/00 at 12:27 (034768)

No - I have no idea what I did. Nothing hurt at the time at all, I know by now to pay close attention to how I feel. My best guess would be maybe a shoulder stand. I did one on Sunday and it felt fine - maybe yesterday was too much? I think it might cause a lot of pressure in that area. I have never linked this pain to yoga before. I did leave a message for the instructor to call me, maybe she can shed some light on the problem.

Re: No one kicked me in the knee....but what feet?

Kate on 12/12/00 at 15:26 (034776)

Ouch..sounds painful.....want me to kick your knee?
Try a nice warm soak....and laying on a flat surface for about 20 minutes.
Kate

Re: No one kicked me in the knee....but what feet?

Julie F on 12/13/00 at 02:02 (034817)

Wendy, when I saw your first post I thought it might be the shoulder stand what done it! Sometimes, if we don't go up smoothly and with control, but 'lurch' a bit, a deep muscle in the chest can be strained. It will ease, but lay off the inverted postures and go easy with everything until it goes completely.

You probably haven't done anything serious, but if it doesn't get better within a week or so, have it checked out, just in case you've cracked a rib or something. Are you still seeing the chiropractor?

You don't go into the pose with your legs straight, do you? That can cause a muscle-pulling lurch (and is terrible news for the lower back) Try:

Breathing out - bend the knees and bring them onto the abdomen
Breathing in - press the hands into the floor ('tenting'the fingers helps)
Breathing out - lift the buttocks and bring hands in to support the back.
Bring the knees onto the forehead, keeping the legs folded.
In this position lengthen the spine and work at bringing it perpendicular to the floor, and the chest towards the chin.(Elbows close in to the body, hands as close as possible to the shoulders.)
When stable in this position, straighten the thighs. Keep the knees and direct them towards the ceiling.
Finally, straighten the legs into the full posture.

Going into the pose in this way gives you time to establish yourself in each part of it before going on to the next. It gives you 'optimum' lift, and keeps you in control at every point. The full weight of the legs never 'drags' on the back.

I assume you go into the plough after the shoulder stand and that you keep your legs close to your face when you come out. An uncontrolled descent can cause problems too. When the whole of your spine is on the floor, bend your knees and bring the feet to the floor - don't lower straight legs.

You may be doing all this anyway

Let us know how you are in a couple of days.

All the best, Julie

Re: Word missing...

Julie F on 12/13/00 at 02:04 (034818)

Wendy - keep the knees BENT and direct them towards the ceiling.

Unless, of course, Kate has kicked them so hard you don't want them any more.

Re: shoulder stand-- to Wendy and Julie

alan k on 12/13/00 at 07:44 (034826)

Now that you guys mention this I seem to remember getting similar strain from shoulder stand myself some while back.

Perhaps Wendy you should avoid shoulder stand for the time being.

Two questions for Julie--

1. can you recommend poses that might prepare for shoulder stand in the meantime?

2. how do you feel about props for shoulder stand, like thick blanket under the shoulders leaving C-7 open, a chair for the legs for plough, or doing it against the wall, creeping the feet up the wall?

If a basic pose like shoulder stand causes trouble, it could be a sign that that pose will ultimately do you a lot of good, since thick resistance is encountered in it. One should not give up on basic therapeutic postures, most of all maybe shoulder stand, which is an extremely powerful healer, the most powerful I think. But perhaps Julie could recommend a way to get the body ready for shoulder stand through other chest and shoulder opening postures.

alan k

Re: shoulder stand-- to Wendy and Alan

Julie F on 12/13/00 at 11:23 (034847)

Hi you two

...and I've had it too, come to think of it. Which goes to show that even experienced people who are capable of practising this posture can have problems with it occasionally - often due to not preparing for it adequately, or to not paying close enough attention to one's physical and mental state at the particular time. You might be tired, but think 'let's do it anyway', and that's when things can go amiss.

As you say, Alan, it's a wonderful and important pose, certainly one of the most important. And it is very powerful in its effects. But I don't teach it to beginners, because it's only when the body is ready for it that its true healing effects can be experienced. The musculature of the back needs to be strong and flexible in order to practise it safely and effectively, and these takes time to develop (a year or two, for most people, in my experience) and lots of practice of 'simple things'. The mind and psyche need to be ready for it too. And there are several contra-indications, which I'm sure you're aware of: heart disease, high blood pressure, ear and eye problems, e.g. glaucoma, and spinal problems, menstruation, to name a few.

One of the best preparatory exercises I know for the shoulder stand is also the best for determining whether or not one is ready for shoulder stand. This is Dwi Pada Peetham (which you might know as 'The Bridge'). Lying on the floor in the semi-supine position, with the feet and knees hip width apart and the heels close to the buttocks, the back is raised from the floor. This posture both strengthens the back and increases its flexibility. It helps to create awareness of the upper back (a tight, stiff, 'dead' area for most people), which is the part that really needs to 'work' in the shoulder stand: if it's weak and/or stiff, it will sag, and there will be no chin lock.

Dwi Pada Peetham is practised first in co-ordination with the breath (rising on the in breath, descending on the out breath), and then held. When the whole of the back can be brought into a full arch, so that the chest comes to the chin (effectively the same chin lock that you have in a properly executed shoulder stand) it indicates that the upper back is working fully, and this is an indication that the person is ready for shoulder stand. I personally wouldn't teach shoulder stand to anyone who has not reached the point I describe in Dwi Pada Peetham.

Other useful preparations are: simple stretching-and-breathing exercises, standing or lying on the floor, to open the chest and get the breath and energy flowing. Leg stretches to energize the hamstrings and calf muscles, which should contribute 'lift' to the posture (the role of the legs isn't always understood). Shoulder rotations. Gentle neck exercises (not head-rolling) to release tension. All the basic forward, backward, sideways and twisting movements to work the whole of the spine in. The chest expansion. Yoga mudra. Head of cow.

Aids: I think using a chair for the plough is very helpful. The posture can cause anxiety even in a person who is physically capable of it, and the chair gives confidence to take the legs back over the head. Walking the feet up the wall is one of the better ways to introduce shoulder stand: the support gives confidence, and a feeling of what the posture is about. I don't myself use or like the idea of the folded blanket under the shoulders because in my experience it leads to a less effective chin lock, but I know many people do, and there are good arguments in favour of it. How do you feel about it?

Wendy, as I said before, I would go easy with everything until the pain subsides. I don't think it's anything to worry about, but again, get it checked out if it doesn't start getting better soon.

All the best, Julie

Re: shoulder stand-- to Wendy and Alan

alan k on 12/13/00 at 17:48 (034878)

About a blanket under the shoulders:
I guess with props there is sometimes a 'side-effect,' in this case on the chin lock. It seems like a small compromise, but might in the long term cause a bad habit of not engaging the lock.

alan k

Re: shoulder stand-- to Wendy and Alan

wendyn on 12/13/00 at 18:33 (034880)

Thanks for all your insight both of you!

I haven't had time to post much - but I did see the doctor yesterday. Whatever I had was diagnosed years ago, and it's evidently the same thing - but it hurt worse this time. I cannot remember the exact name - something like costal condroitis? Spelling? Basically an inflammation of where the ribs join or something like that. (I'm cramming this post in between dinner and kids christmas concert)

He feels that I may or may not have done something to aggravate it - he said it just happens to some people, women more often than men. It's a rather un-nerving feeling because it involves sudden sharp chest pain, which we always associate with something dire. He reassured me that although it feels bad - it's not dangerous. The anti-inflams and heat are helping, and I had a massage from the big good looking therpaist yesterday so I feel much better!

With the shoulder stand - interesting you point out the towel. The instructor had me use a folded up blanket and I didn't like the way it felt - I prefer without. Next time I will listen to me.

Re: shoulder stand-- to Wendy and Alan

Julie F on 12/14/00 at 00:14 (034919)

Yes. Also: the point of the blanket, as I understand it, is to avoid the neck being overly compressed. But if the neck is lengthened first, and kept relaxed, and if the posture is performed well - i.e. if the musculature of the back is strong enough to control the lift of the body into the pose so that there is no heaving or lurching, and strong enough to work to hold the lift - there is actually not a lot of weight on the neck, and therefore no undue compression.

About props generally: I know that some schools of yoga, e.g. Iyengar, justify their use on the basis that they enable students who can't attain the full poses by means of their own strength, stamina and flexibility, to experience them. My feeling is that people shouldn't be 'doing postures' that they can't practise without equipment; and that the effects of a posture won't genuinely be experienced unless we can practise it on our own. And that our own body and a space big enough to lie down (and stretch) in is all we need to practise yoga. The only aids I use are (for students) the chair to introduce the plough, and (for students and myself) blocks to elevate the hips for Dandasana and the seated meditative poses.

But I also know that it's good that there are different styles to suit different temperaments, and I respect all systems, as long as the teaching is underpinned with a true understanding of yoga as spiritual practice, and that where physical practice is concerned the bottom line of the individual teacher is safety.

Re: costochondritis - to Wendy

Julie F on 12/14/00 at 00:31 (034920)

Yes, costo (referring to the ribs) chondritis (inflammation of cartilage). If that's what you have, Wendy, Ken is right that you don't want to do anything that will irritate it, and I think you're going to have to forego the shoulder stand and the plough. It doesn't matter: there are 84 thousand (some say million) postures, and no-one has to do them all. You can get many of the benefits of reverse postures (heart above the head) with standing forward bends.

Yes: do always listen to 'you'. Instructors can only guide and suggest, but we have to be responsible for ourselves and for the decisions we take about how we use our bodies.

I hope this bout of cc eases quickly. I know anti-inflammatories don't agree with you. I'm glad the hunky masseur made you feel better!

All the best, Julie

Re: costochondritis - to Wendy

Julie F on 12/14/00 at 02:55 (034928)

PS Wendy, what is EMT training?

Re: props and yoga

alan k on 12/14/00 at 08:59 (034933)

The thing that I don't like about props is the interruption of the flow of the practice, but that's coming from someone doing a vinyasa-oriented practice. I did Iyengar yoga for a time but did not like all the obssessing over the props. But being involved in Buddhism and Yoga for a while, I have come to encounter the same phenomenon over and over again-- that everyone thinks their way is best. And it's all true! It's not a good idea to pick and choose and continually shop and move around from system to system. You have to settle down, believe in your system, and discover how it works the way it does, and couldn't work any other way.

You can tell that Julie is an experienced and deep teacher because she has a strong and consistent philosophy behind everything she says. I am so glad she got PF! (if you know what I mean)

alan k

Re: props and yoga

Julie F on 12/14/00 at 10:12 (034941)

Alan, what a lovely thing to say. Thank you! I do know what you mean, and I'm glad I got PF too (in a sort of a way!) because I've met such good people through it.

Yes I think I am consistent, because I profoundly believe, as you do, that development and spiritual unfoldment happen only when you 'settle down' and start digging deeply.You know the analogy that if you want to find water, you have to dig one deep well: you get nowhere if you dig lots of shallow little holes. In the beginning most people need to 'shop around' and experiment for awhile with different teachers and styles, but eventually one finds what one needs and sticks with it.

My feelings about props are as yours. I was treading somewhat gently before, because I didn't know if you might not be an Iyengar student/teacher! I think the Iyengar system has a great deal to offer, especially in the precision with which the postures are executed, and that the best of their teachers are very very good. And Iyengar himself is a master who understands what yoga really is - but because it is such a strong system physically, it tends to attract students and teachers who tend to mistake that aspect of yoga for the whole.

Are you going to Thailand soon? I remember your mentioning it a few months ago. I'm leaving for south India the day after Christmas, and very much looking forward to it.

Namaste Alan, and thanks again for what you said,

Julie

Re: props and yoga

alan k on 12/14/00 at 16:30 (034960)

We are off to Thailand some time in January, after I finish a ton of business. I haven't started practicing barefoot walking yet, though I better get started soon. I have a psychological block about my birks.

I'll be in the temple for some time doing meditation. We do barefoot slow walking meditation in addition to sitting, but I don't think I'll be doing the walking because I don't feel skilled enough to distinguish normal foot pain from a recurrance of pf, unless its too late. Then I'll know.

alan k

Re: Back to Ken and Julie re costochondritis

wendyn on 12/14/00 at 20:27 (034974)

Yep - this is what it is - finally figured out how to spell it later last night. The doctor thinks I may just be predisposed to problems there, and that it may not necessarily be because I'm doing something 'wrong'. Anti inflammitories are supposed to help, and actually a couple child size doses of ibuprofen seem to have pretty much done the trick - very little pain at all now.

I agree though Ken, if I didn't know what this was it would be really frightening because of where it is and what it feels like!

Re: Back to Ken and Julie re costochondritis

Julie F on 12/15/00 at 03:00 (034990)

Wendy, I'm very glad you're feeling better.

Re: Judy, you have a point about attitude.......

Julie F on 12/12/00 at 10:15 (034758)

You're absolutely right, Kate. It's why I was not in favour of limiting the posts and discussions on the board to foot matters ( as was suggested after the election scrap). One of the many good things about the board is that people do talk about things other than feet, and I think that's very important.

I had to laugh at your mantra. One of our best and oldest friends has no legs - he lost them both as a pilot in the second world war, one below the knee, one above. I often think about Sam when my foot hurts! However real and persistent pain is, it does help to be reminded that there are worse things.

Thanks for these thoughts, and for all the support you give to the people in your care.

All good wishes, Julie

Re: No one kicked me in the knee....but what feet?

wendyn on 12/12/00 at 10:56 (034762)

Ouch ouch ouch. Have injured myself - I think at yoga. I have ocassionally had pain above the breastbone (sternum?) in the muscle. It can be very painful - and only happens when I move a certain way. Woke up with it again this morning 4:17 a.m. to be precise. Hurts some in between my shoulder blades and then above the sternum (that's the big pain).

Like I said - I've done this before, but never this bad. Any thoughts from anyone - especially you yoga folks? I have blamed it on the past on weight training but I haven't been near the weights in a week - but I did go to yoga last night.

I normally stay well away from anti-inflams because of side-effects but I'm taking kids motrin this morning and it seems to be helping (remember I'm pretty little so sometimes I think the adult doses are just too much for me).

Re: No one kicked me in the knee....but what feet?

alan k on 12/12/00 at 11:25 (034764)

do you know what pose might be causing it?

alan

Re: No one kicked me in the knee....but what feet?

wendyn on 12/12/00 at 12:27 (034768)

No - I have no idea what I did. Nothing hurt at the time at all, I know by now to pay close attention to how I feel. My best guess would be maybe a shoulder stand. I did one on Sunday and it felt fine - maybe yesterday was too much? I think it might cause a lot of pressure in that area. I have never linked this pain to yoga before. I did leave a message for the instructor to call me, maybe she can shed some light on the problem.

Re: No one kicked me in the knee....but what feet?

Kate on 12/12/00 at 15:26 (034776)

Ouch..sounds painful.....want me to kick your knee?
Try a nice warm soak....and laying on a flat surface for about 20 minutes.
Kate

Re: No one kicked me in the knee....but what feet?

Julie F on 12/13/00 at 02:02 (034817)

Wendy, when I saw your first post I thought it might be the shoulder stand what done it! Sometimes, if we don't go up smoothly and with control, but 'lurch' a bit, a deep muscle in the chest can be strained. It will ease, but lay off the inverted postures and go easy with everything until it goes completely.

You probably haven't done anything serious, but if it doesn't get better within a week or so, have it checked out, just in case you've cracked a rib or something. Are you still seeing the chiropractor?

You don't go into the pose with your legs straight, do you? That can cause a muscle-pulling lurch (and is terrible news for the lower back) Try:

Breathing out - bend the knees and bring them onto the abdomen
Breathing in - press the hands into the floor ('tenting'the fingers helps)
Breathing out - lift the buttocks and bring hands in to support the back.
Bring the knees onto the forehead, keeping the legs folded.
In this position lengthen the spine and work at bringing it perpendicular to the floor, and the chest towards the chin.(Elbows close in to the body, hands as close as possible to the shoulders.)
When stable in this position, straighten the thighs. Keep the knees and direct them towards the ceiling.
Finally, straighten the legs into the full posture.

Going into the pose in this way gives you time to establish yourself in each part of it before going on to the next. It gives you 'optimum' lift, and keeps you in control at every point. The full weight of the legs never 'drags' on the back.

I assume you go into the plough after the shoulder stand and that you keep your legs close to your face when you come out. An uncontrolled descent can cause problems too. When the whole of your spine is on the floor, bend your knees and bring the feet to the floor - don't lower straight legs.

You may be doing all this anyway

Let us know how you are in a couple of days.

All the best, Julie

Re: Word missing...

Julie F on 12/13/00 at 02:04 (034818)

Wendy - keep the knees BENT and direct them towards the ceiling.

Unless, of course, Kate has kicked them so hard you don't want them any more.

Re: shoulder stand-- to Wendy and Julie

alan k on 12/13/00 at 07:44 (034826)

Now that you guys mention this I seem to remember getting similar strain from shoulder stand myself some while back.

Perhaps Wendy you should avoid shoulder stand for the time being.

Two questions for Julie--

1. can you recommend poses that might prepare for shoulder stand in the meantime?

2. how do you feel about props for shoulder stand, like thick blanket under the shoulders leaving C-7 open, a chair for the legs for plough, or doing it against the wall, creeping the feet up the wall?

If a basic pose like shoulder stand causes trouble, it could be a sign that that pose will ultimately do you a lot of good, since thick resistance is encountered in it. One should not give up on basic therapeutic postures, most of all maybe shoulder stand, which is an extremely powerful healer, the most powerful I think. But perhaps Julie could recommend a way to get the body ready for shoulder stand through other chest and shoulder opening postures.

alan k

Re: shoulder stand-- to Wendy and Alan

Julie F on 12/13/00 at 11:23 (034847)

Hi you two

...and I've had it too, come to think of it. Which goes to show that even experienced people who are capable of practising this posture can have problems with it occasionally - often due to not preparing for it adequately, or to not paying close enough attention to one's physical and mental state at the particular time. You might be tired, but think 'let's do it anyway', and that's when things can go amiss.

As you say, Alan, it's a wonderful and important pose, certainly one of the most important. And it is very powerful in its effects. But I don't teach it to beginners, because it's only when the body is ready for it that its true healing effects can be experienced. The musculature of the back needs to be strong and flexible in order to practise it safely and effectively, and these takes time to develop (a year or two, for most people, in my experience) and lots of practice of 'simple things'. The mind and psyche need to be ready for it too. And there are several contra-indications, which I'm sure you're aware of: heart disease, high blood pressure, ear and eye problems, e.g. glaucoma, and spinal problems, menstruation, to name a few.

One of the best preparatory exercises I know for the shoulder stand is also the best for determining whether or not one is ready for shoulder stand. This is Dwi Pada Peetham (which you might know as 'The Bridge'). Lying on the floor in the semi-supine position, with the feet and knees hip width apart and the heels close to the buttocks, the back is raised from the floor. This posture both strengthens the back and increases its flexibility. It helps to create awareness of the upper back (a tight, stiff, 'dead' area for most people), which is the part that really needs to 'work' in the shoulder stand: if it's weak and/or stiff, it will sag, and there will be no chin lock.

Dwi Pada Peetham is practised first in co-ordination with the breath (rising on the in breath, descending on the out breath), and then held. When the whole of the back can be brought into a full arch, so that the chest comes to the chin (effectively the same chin lock that you have in a properly executed shoulder stand) it indicates that the upper back is working fully, and this is an indication that the person is ready for shoulder stand. I personally wouldn't teach shoulder stand to anyone who has not reached the point I describe in Dwi Pada Peetham.

Other useful preparations are: simple stretching-and-breathing exercises, standing or lying on the floor, to open the chest and get the breath and energy flowing. Leg stretches to energize the hamstrings and calf muscles, which should contribute 'lift' to the posture (the role of the legs isn't always understood). Shoulder rotations. Gentle neck exercises (not head-rolling) to release tension. All the basic forward, backward, sideways and twisting movements to work the whole of the spine in. The chest expansion. Yoga mudra. Head of cow.

Aids: I think using a chair for the plough is very helpful. The posture can cause anxiety even in a person who is physically capable of it, and the chair gives confidence to take the legs back over the head. Walking the feet up the wall is one of the better ways to introduce shoulder stand: the support gives confidence, and a feeling of what the posture is about. I don't myself use or like the idea of the folded blanket under the shoulders because in my experience it leads to a less effective chin lock, but I know many people do, and there are good arguments in favour of it. How do you feel about it?

Wendy, as I said before, I would go easy with everything until the pain subsides. I don't think it's anything to worry about, but again, get it checked out if it doesn't start getting better soon.

All the best, Julie

Re: shoulder stand-- to Wendy and Alan

alan k on 12/13/00 at 17:48 (034878)

About a blanket under the shoulders:
I guess with props there is sometimes a 'side-effect,' in this case on the chin lock. It seems like a small compromise, but might in the long term cause a bad habit of not engaging the lock.

alan k

Re: shoulder stand-- to Wendy and Alan

wendyn on 12/13/00 at 18:33 (034880)

Thanks for all your insight both of you!

I haven't had time to post much - but I did see the doctor yesterday. Whatever I had was diagnosed years ago, and it's evidently the same thing - but it hurt worse this time. I cannot remember the exact name - something like costal condroitis? Spelling? Basically an inflammation of where the ribs join or something like that. (I'm cramming this post in between dinner and kids christmas concert)

He feels that I may or may not have done something to aggravate it - he said it just happens to some people, women more often than men. It's a rather un-nerving feeling because it involves sudden sharp chest pain, which we always associate with something dire. He reassured me that although it feels bad - it's not dangerous. The anti-inflams and heat are helping, and I had a massage from the big good looking therpaist yesterday so I feel much better!

With the shoulder stand - interesting you point out the towel. The instructor had me use a folded up blanket and I didn't like the way it felt - I prefer without. Next time I will listen to me.

Re: shoulder stand-- to Wendy and Alan

Julie F on 12/14/00 at 00:14 (034919)

Yes. Also: the point of the blanket, as I understand it, is to avoid the neck being overly compressed. But if the neck is lengthened first, and kept relaxed, and if the posture is performed well - i.e. if the musculature of the back is strong enough to control the lift of the body into the pose so that there is no heaving or lurching, and strong enough to work to hold the lift - there is actually not a lot of weight on the neck, and therefore no undue compression.

About props generally: I know that some schools of yoga, e.g. Iyengar, justify their use on the basis that they enable students who can't attain the full poses by means of their own strength, stamina and flexibility, to experience them. My feeling is that people shouldn't be 'doing postures' that they can't practise without equipment; and that the effects of a posture won't genuinely be experienced unless we can practise it on our own. And that our own body and a space big enough to lie down (and stretch) in is all we need to practise yoga. The only aids I use are (for students) the chair to introduce the plough, and (for students and myself) blocks to elevate the hips for Dandasana and the seated meditative poses.

But I also know that it's good that there are different styles to suit different temperaments, and I respect all systems, as long as the teaching is underpinned with a true understanding of yoga as spiritual practice, and that where physical practice is concerned the bottom line of the individual teacher is safety.

Re: costochondritis - to Wendy

Julie F on 12/14/00 at 00:31 (034920)

Yes, costo (referring to the ribs) chondritis (inflammation of cartilage). If that's what you have, Wendy, Ken is right that you don't want to do anything that will irritate it, and I think you're going to have to forego the shoulder stand and the plough. It doesn't matter: there are 84 thousand (some say million) postures, and no-one has to do them all. You can get many of the benefits of reverse postures (heart above the head) with standing forward bends.

Yes: do always listen to 'you'. Instructors can only guide and suggest, but we have to be responsible for ourselves and for the decisions we take about how we use our bodies.

I hope this bout of cc eases quickly. I know anti-inflammatories don't agree with you. I'm glad the hunky masseur made you feel better!

All the best, Julie

Re: costochondritis - to Wendy

Julie F on 12/14/00 at 02:55 (034928)

PS Wendy, what is EMT training?

Re: props and yoga

alan k on 12/14/00 at 08:59 (034933)

The thing that I don't like about props is the interruption of the flow of the practice, but that's coming from someone doing a vinyasa-oriented practice. I did Iyengar yoga for a time but did not like all the obssessing over the props. But being involved in Buddhism and Yoga for a while, I have come to encounter the same phenomenon over and over again-- that everyone thinks their way is best. And it's all true! It's not a good idea to pick and choose and continually shop and move around from system to system. You have to settle down, believe in your system, and discover how it works the way it does, and couldn't work any other way.

You can tell that Julie is an experienced and deep teacher because she has a strong and consistent philosophy behind everything she says. I am so glad she got PF! (if you know what I mean)

alan k

Re: props and yoga

Julie F on 12/14/00 at 10:12 (034941)

Alan, what a lovely thing to say. Thank you! I do know what you mean, and I'm glad I got PF too (in a sort of a way!) because I've met such good people through it.

Yes I think I am consistent, because I profoundly believe, as you do, that development and spiritual unfoldment happen only when you 'settle down' and start digging deeply.You know the analogy that if you want to find water, you have to dig one deep well: you get nowhere if you dig lots of shallow little holes. In the beginning most people need to 'shop around' and experiment for awhile with different teachers and styles, but eventually one finds what one needs and sticks with it.

My feelings about props are as yours. I was treading somewhat gently before, because I didn't know if you might not be an Iyengar student/teacher! I think the Iyengar system has a great deal to offer, especially in the precision with which the postures are executed, and that the best of their teachers are very very good. And Iyengar himself is a master who understands what yoga really is - but because it is such a strong system physically, it tends to attract students and teachers who tend to mistake that aspect of yoga for the whole.

Are you going to Thailand soon? I remember your mentioning it a few months ago. I'm leaving for south India the day after Christmas, and very much looking forward to it.

Namaste Alan, and thanks again for what you said,

Julie

Re: props and yoga

alan k on 12/14/00 at 16:30 (034960)

We are off to Thailand some time in January, after I finish a ton of business. I haven't started practicing barefoot walking yet, though I better get started soon. I have a psychological block about my birks.

I'll be in the temple for some time doing meditation. We do barefoot slow walking meditation in addition to sitting, but I don't think I'll be doing the walking because I don't feel skilled enough to distinguish normal foot pain from a recurrance of pf, unless its too late. Then I'll know.

alan k

Re: Back to Ken and Julie re costochondritis

wendyn on 12/14/00 at 20:27 (034974)

Yep - this is what it is - finally figured out how to spell it later last night. The doctor thinks I may just be predisposed to problems there, and that it may not necessarily be because I'm doing something 'wrong'. Anti inflammitories are supposed to help, and actually a couple child size doses of ibuprofen seem to have pretty much done the trick - very little pain at all now.

I agree though Ken, if I didn't know what this was it would be really frightening because of where it is and what it feels like!

Re: Back to Ken and Julie re costochondritis

Julie F on 12/15/00 at 03:00 (034990)

Wendy, I'm very glad you're feeling better.