Tuesday, September 21, 2010

An Observation From a Stuck Shoulder

I think I discovered why my Supta Kurmasana bind has been lost in the Matrix. Everything else in my practice has come back in full force now that I'm back to a regular practice, but not the damn Supta K bind. OK, maybe I'm still not back to grabbing my wrists yet in Mari D, just a hand-bind only. But by golly, even Laghuvajrasana, that hateful pose... is starting to make a bit more sense and is becoming a more "quiet" pose (ie: No voices in my head screaming out "I FUCKING HATE YOU, LAGHU!" ...Or rather, the voices are probably still there, but I've just learned how to tune them out and get on with it.)

So - what the heck is going on with Supta Kurmasana?

The past couple of days, I've noticed that as I'm entering the Supta version from Kurmasana, bending the legs and scooping the shoulders under as much as I can before swinging the hands behind my back... I noticed that my left shoulder couldn't get past a certain point as much as my right shoulder could. My right hand could swing behind, past my spine... And logically, if I could do the same with my left hand too - then both hands should meet like they used to. Right?

Problem is - My left hand hasn't been able to swing past the midway mark of my spine like it used to. My shoulder just felt "stuck".

I just thought "It's one of those days. My body hasn't learnt to open up to where it used to be".

Then yesterday, I went to the physio to get more dry-needling done in my shoulders. A month away in London, lugging my computer around town and hunching over the laptop in post-production suites and audio studios and not sitting at a proper desk had taken its toll. I could feel those chronic trigger points in my shoulders start to act up again.

Good thing I went! The entire muscle down by my left scapula was a solid rock. The Physio stuck needles into those trigger points and it was such a relief to feel the tension melt away!

I hadn't even made that connection between my shoulder and Supta Kurmasana until today's practice. The moment I scooped my left shoulder under my leg to get into the Supta variation, it felt like there was loads more movement going on in that shoulder. Even though it still felt a bit raw and bruised from yesterday's needling, I could already feel a bit more movement going on there. And my left hand was able to climb a little higher up my back, like it used to.

I'm probably still nowhere close to where my hands should be in order to get a hand-bind yet, but I can already feel the difference.

(Haha, OK so Dwi Pada Sirsasana isn't quite Supta Kurmasana but this pic made me laugh!)

I guess there isn't a point to today's post. It's just an observation in muscle mechanics. Maybe now I can give into the frustration with this asana and stop wondering "Where the hell did you go to?!"

{UPDATE}: In bitching about everything that WASN'T there in my practice today, I forgot to mention one thing that happened today THAT HAS NEVER HAPPENED BEFORE!!! I got my heels to lift in Kurmasana. I mean... that's pretty big news innit. I was reading up all of my Ashtanga books, trying to get tips on the Supta K bind, when I realized the reason why I was always lifting my bum instead of my heels in Kurmasana is coz my hands were too far back. Gregor Maehle says your hands need to be in line with your shoulders in Kurmasana. DOH! So I tried it today, pointed my toes... And Hey Presto! Like magic, my heels lifted. :) :) :)

PS. I am loving practicing at home in my new apartment. Hard wood floors (YAY! No yucky carpet!), an EVEN floor, and more space to move around. It makes such a big difference in motivating yourself out of bed onto the frigging cold mat at 6am. (I still have no bike yet and can't get to a shala in the morning).

PPS. The other thing I'm loving about self-practice at home: Not having to deal with OTHER PEOPLE'S yucky flaky mat bits and hair bits getting all over me. Everyone should just buy a Manduka mat which never flakes, in an effort to be considerate to your neighbour. Or... just practice at home if you have a flaky mat. :)


  1. Hi Jaime,

    Your hilarious "just practice at home if you have a flaky mat. :) "!!

    Love the weird dwi pada picture too. Nice to hear your getting into a groove with your home practice.

  2. HA! Can you tell what one of my pet peeves is? ;p

  3. Oooh, nice work on the heel lift in Kurmasana. That takes tons of bandha+ab action and just the effort of it all tires me out!

    Funny to read about your pet peeve. I can take mat flakyness, but the thing that *really* gets me is odour. I have a super-sensitive nose so any smell that's remotely nasty just drives me nuts!

  4. Thanks Danielle! But I think in this case it's more about technique. Seriously - try it with your hands in line with your shoulders. I had an "AHA!" moment here today... Like... I've been putting my hands too far back ALL THESE YEARS?!? ;)

  5. Ha - I used to have a flakey mat. One of those eco ones ... Really liked the idea, but got fed up with leaving half of it behind everytime I practiced! Don't know what sort of mat I've got now but it's really solid and good, and no flaking! I got a Jade travel mat for my upcoming trip and I think that's an eco mat - just a different kind. Hasn't flaked yet when I've used it!

    Can't say anything about kurmasana or supta ... coz I'm still thinking Mari D is an impossibility!

  6. Nothing is an impossibility! I used to think Mari D was an impossibility too! In fact, I used to think Parivrtta Parsvakonasana was impossible too. Slowly slowly... practice practice... ;p


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