Friday, June 4, 2010


So, we’ve established that Backbending Angst drives me into an insomniatic frenzy and makes me turn into a CrazyPants.

This week, I’m discovering that my gremlin, which I’ve named Nitara, makes me tired. I don’t think I’ve really felt well-rested since Wednesday and I’ve been sleeping a LOT. In fact, I’ve been spending most of my non-teaching, non-practisting, non-Princess-Fur-Walking hours in bed, passed out.

Say what you want about the validity of homeopathic preparations, but the Arnica has a very specific effect on me: it puts me to sleep! I’m not dreaming this up. The pellets knock me out for at least three hours (or leave me yawning for those hours, in the case of my evening classes last night). Even the gel makes me drowsy. I guess I won’t be operating heavy machinery this week. It’s more effective than the Melatonin! Yesterday, I napped for two hours in the morning. Today, after practice, I went back to sleep for almost three-and-a-half hours. As I write this (late evening), I’m already sleepy.

I think the full-body exhaustion is also just the nature of my gremlin; pain is exhausting. I’m a pretty tough cookie, but I was really hurting yesterday. I had a full schedule of classes to teach and was miserable for most of them. I put on my happy face and carried on.

By last night, the idea of practising in the morning seemed laughable, but I didn’t give myself the option of skipping. I figured I would show up on my mat and deal with whatever I found there. In addition to the Arnica Gel, which I do believe is helping, I took muscle relaxants last night before bed. I woke up feeling better, more sore than ‘crampy’. This means I’m on the mend, which is good news!

I’ve been following the recommendations in the ‘Treat Your Own Neck’ book. This morning, as I was doing them, I could actually *feel* my gremlin moving around, from shoulderblade to the base of the neck and back again. The book has a series of daily exercises for maintenance of a healthy neck. I think I may need to incorporate these into my post-salt-bath routine since this has become an area of concern for me. I also need to be more aware of what I’m doing with my neck during my practice. I think I’m going to take a hiatus from anything ‘chin-to-shin’ and focus on keeping my neck in a neutral position, particularly in the forward bending poses.

I had a careful, but relatively complete practice this morning. All jumpbacks/throughs were there, but I skipped the Chakrasanas after trying one and hitting that same ‘my-muscles-aren’t-working’ brick wall that I crashed into yesterday in Sirsasana.

I worked steadily, but carefully in my backbends. I did six and worked on walking my hands in and breathing. That felt like enough.

Since Chakrasana wasn’t working for me, I wasn’t too surprised to find that my Sarvangasana was tender and not very deep. I couldn’t get far enough up on my shoulders to hold up my knees up in Urdhva Padmasanana - I had to keep my hands on my back. Same in Pindasana.

But I managed to come into Sirsasana! This was a great relief to me - it's probably my favourite pose. I didn’t stay for long and I came down one leg at a time, skipped the half-bend.

Another six-day week is complete! Tomorrow, I’m definitely taking rest. No Astanga for me. My practice will be gentle, restorative and brief.

I’m hoping that I’ll be up to full-strength for for the led Primary on Sunday. I’m looking forward to this. I always enjoy the discussion afterward and I already have the ingredients together to bake vegan double-chocolate brownies for my shala-mates. We’ll feast! :-)


Boodiba said...

I bumped my primary to today, but the Super Troll is supposedly coming at 10am to fix the closet doors. Still I think I'll start at 9:30 or whenever I want and just let him in when he arrives, if he actually does.

Arnica hey? I wonder if I should try it, the pellets. Someone gave me some gel once & it didn't seem to do anything.

Time for coffee!

Kaivalya said...

Finally! Those closet doors! You only had to land in Emergency to finally get those doors fixed. At least something good came out of it, eh?

No Primary for me today. I'm about to hit the mat for some restorative though. I'm going to do some hamstring stretches, front-hip stretches (for Urdhva Dhanurasana prep) and some other hip openers.

My neck is feeling pretty good this morning. Mostly just sore. I'm going to be VERY careful from now! I need Nitara to move back into my left psoas where she usually hides.

Yeah, Arnica. Who knew? My teacher seemed a bit astounded that the entire Astanga community isn't using the stuff. It could be the placebo effect, but it seems to be helping. And the drowsiness is just bizarre.

Boodiba said...

Well... until the Troll actually shows up I will suspend judgment. He also tends to 1/2 fix things, or install fixes that last 1-2 days. We'll see!!

I don't really want to practice. If I skip the primary I'll have messed up the six day week. I have to decide if I care. At the moment I'm still sipping my soy latte :)

I'm wondering if arnica could be a useful sleeping partner with the melatonin, but probably best not to take too much stuff I guess.

Have a great restorative! Happy to hear the gremlins are being tamed.

Kaivalya said...

I vote for practice, so you'll have your six-day-week.

C'mon, it's only the Primary Series! You can churn that out in just over an hour. Easy peasy and you're done. Think of all those yummy yoga endorphins!

Soy latte = yum. I wish I wasn't allergic to coffee!!!

I used both the arnica and the melatonin last night but not at the same time. I had a bit of insomnia, probably because I slept all morning after practice. Arnica put me to sleep. When I woke at 3 a.m., I used the melatonin.

I'm becoming a supplement junkie!

Boodiba said...

As long as you don't start twitching & drooling you're ok!!

Ya you're probably right - I should practice. Even if it happens at noon like last Monday it's ok. I mean... I was worried that late practice would mess up my advanced Tuesday morning but it didn't. My weekday routines start about 7am. Tomorrow is 2nd only and I probably won't be on the mat til about 9am.

I think I'll work on the tax stuff for awhile first & maybe do my asana in the afternoon, after troll is gone, as a reward.

You know I'd been sleeping a lot lately as well, but I think it was stress and being sick. The other night I dreamed Mooshi had learned to talk and called me "Bhait-see", or dumb-ass in Chinese. It's one of my few Chinese phrases, that I picked up from a coworker. Too funny.

Arturo said...

dear Kai

it seems you're making great progress on your savasana!

i fear chakrasana at times. i do it, but if i'm tired, i avoid it, since it sends me back where i came from in that case.

CrazyPants, i like the names you come up with. i've named a shalamate GarlicBlossom and even had a comment to make about her practice but i've been so busy, that, ladeda, i've forgotten what i was going to say and spared everyone the pain of reading it. haha.

word verif "halion" - these are those halion days

Kaivalya said...

I hope 'GarlicBlossom' doesn't smell like garlic. She wouldn't be very much fun to practice with if that was the case!

Chakrasana isn't a big deal these days and was going along very easy until the neck gremlin visited. I'm sure my backwards roll will be back soon, but I'm not rushing it.

Anonymous said...

Arnica is basically aspirin so make sure you don't take/apply too much! It thins the blood. Does aspirin make you sleepy, too? :) Maybe you're sensitive to that kind of drug.

Hope the gremlin leaves you alone soon!

Arturo said...

dear Kai
i think she ate too much garlic in her previous day's meal and hence her breath did smell garlicky. i've since forgotten who she was and have not detected the smell. this happens when you wear glasses and otherwise observing your dristhe. you don't know too much who is a round you.