Wednesday, August 29, 2012

10 weeks post surgery - Making Peace with Progress.

It's been a while since I posted on my blog. Recovery has been a full time job. I also have been enjoying a few beach visits and getting out more often with a pared down social life!

I'm driving - YAY! So nice to get some independence back. Now I don't have to depend on others to drive me to Dr appts, PT appts, to the Y , shopping etc. I still cannot drive for long distances since it really aggravates those muscles at the surgery site.

Speaking of muscles at the surgery site - it seems that some of my Gluteus Maximus muscles (buttocks) are not working properly and have not been even prior to my surgery. One set of them is not firing at all.  It is the set that propels me forward and is critical to proper walking mechanics. The metal that was leaking into the right hip from the bad hip replacement was causing inflammation and muscle and bone deterioration in and around those muscle groups. So because of the muscle weakness and deterioration, my hips throw me to the left (where there is more stability) and try to lock out the leg bones on the right side so that I can be stable. So needless to say, I have a really funky waddle because of it. PT is doing a good job trying to get those muscles firing again. It's a slow process, but we are starting to see some progress.

I'm without a cane since last week and just relying on my leg & hip brace which helps me to externally rotate my right leg. This has become a problem because of the weak buttocks muscles and what happens is the knee ends up hurting because it is pitching inwards instead of tracking as it should.

I started taking Pilates Reformer classes at the Y to help to strengthen my weak buttocks muscles and improve core stability. I am enjoying these classes and am regaining some strength in the affected area. I took a couple of short rides on my bike and it was so good to be back on the bike. Unfortunately I pulled a groin muscle! PT says it is because the weak buttocks muscles get tired and stop working, so some other muscles has got to pick up the slack - so my inner thighs bear the brunt and VOILA - pulled groin and inner thigh muscle.

My regular Yoga practice is suffering. I hate this feeling of guilt that I have about it. I think I am shying away from my practice because I just can't do what I used to be able to. Frankly a lot of it hurts still and my lack of flexibility reminds me of when I was a beginner. So instead of being confronted and disappointed with all my limitations - I'll just avoid it.

10 weeks away from a regular Yoga practice, Road cycling and teaching 7 classes of Yoga a week can wreck havoc on your body and mind. Let's just say 10lbs and flabby muscles is really depressing when you have worked so hard all your life to stay fit. It's also really easy to find comfort from all those depressing things with ice cream, chips, good beer and other late evening snacks that call my name. :)

All in all I'm good. Could I be better - of course! I could  be back to doing all the things I was before - but that is not realistic. I have to make peace with that. I have to make peace with 6 months being a more reasonable period to recover and get back to normal. I saw a friend at the Y today and she said, " In an entire life, what is 6 months? It's nothing - it's a blink of an eye. You can do it Amy".  She's right, I know it, now make peace with it Amy.


Wednesday, August 8, 2012

EGO  (ahamkara) - getting over yourself can set you free

One of the basic concepts of Yoga is the Ego or the sanskrit word Ahamkara/Asmita. Our conscious over identification with our "self"  in relation to our external environment ( feelings, physical body,emotions, life stages, society norms) seperates us from the true state of "Yoga" - or union with the Divine.

The ego is one of the five Afflictions (Kleshas) that cause us suffering in this life (Avidya - Ignorance, Ahamkara/Asmita- Ego, Raga - Attraction, Dvesa - Aversion, Abhinivasa- Death). The cause of all the afflictions is embedded in the first Klesa - Ignorance. BKS Iyengar wrote in "Light on the Yoga Sutras", "Mistaking the transient for the permanent, the impure for the pure, pain for pleasure, that which is not the self for the self: all of this is a lack of spiritual knowledge".

I've been struggling with all these physical limitations lately. I take one step forward and the next thing I know my body or my emotions send me two steps back. Instead of staying present and acknowledging my ability for what I can do today - I end up looking back at what I could do before and then my Ego kicks in and I find myself sad, depressed, angry at my body - at my situation - at this juncture in my life. These feelings (my ego) tend to send me down a road that is just not realistic and frankly unhealthy for me and those around me.

Learning to stay in the present is hard. Past life experiences invade our present moments and creep into our future thoughts - often times undermining our progress and ultimately our Yoga practice. What to do?

Change my thoughts!

I am trying to remember that I am not 20 years old anymore - heck I'm not even what I was 8 weeks ago! My body will not do those things anymore. It is different everyday, every second, - every cell changes NOTHING stays the same - ever. I cannot hold onto those memories -that is all they are memories. From here on out everyday is new with its own sets of challenges and successes. When my Ego steps in and says - Wow - you can't do this like you used to, or you're not making quick enough progress like last time, or you're putting weight on around your middle because you're not working out like you used to, or am I embarrassing my husband because I am walking with a cane, or great one leg is longer than the other now and I have to wear a lift in my shoe. Uultimately all those Ego conversations just make me feel less and cause me suffering.

And I am not less - I am more than just this human body I inhabit. I make a difference - regardless of what this life (or my Ego) throws at me.

And readers - Guess what?  So are you!