Yoga Injuries / Yoga Musings

Getting Ready for a Comeback (Again)

I recently bought a 3-month unlimited pass to a yoga studio here in Philadelphia. The place is called Dhyana Yoga. They offer mostly vinyasa and anusara, the two kinds of yoga I’m most familiar with and most comfortable with. Why is this news? About a year ago I sustained a bad shoulder injury and had to stop doing yoga pretty much entirely. (This is why the blog has been inactive for so many months). The injury did not improve, and, in fact, got so bad that I was unable to lift my arm to parallel for nearly 6 months. I had an MRI and learned that I had a slight tear in my rotator cuff, along with the more serious problem, chronic shoulder bursitis. After having done yoga every day of my life for years, and having been a yoga teacher for almost three years, it was a real bummer to suddenly be unable to do down-dog or even a basic Sun Salutation A.

I did practice about 3 times a week on my own, a kind of modified Ashtanga practice, but it’s just not the same. I couldn’t do down-dog, plank, arm balances or most inversions. It’s like my practice went from 100 MPH to 2 MPH.

Over time, though, things did improve, albeit very slowly. Then, sometime around September of 2010, after taking lots and lots of Celebrex to get the inflammation down in my shoulder, I finally regained full range of motion in my shoulder without any pain. I immediately started practicing Vinyasa Flow yoga again. Not surprisingly, my shoulder got bad within three weeks. It hasn’t recovered since. My shoulder now seems to just be in a permanent state of grinding and popping, with a mild to sometimes sharp pain. I don’t have health insurance now, so surgery is out of the question, at least for now. I’m worried that I’ve screwed my shoulder up permanently. I’m 33 years old and feel like an old man!

So why did I buy a 3-month pass to a yoga studio? Well, the main reason was that I couldn’t pass up the deal. They were offering 3-month passes for just $90. The catch, though, is that I have to activate the pass by March 1st. More likely than not, my shoulder won’t be better by then. So I’m going to try to restrict myself to only doing standing poses. I bet this will annoy some teachers, but c’est la vie. I also plan to go to some restorative and beginner classes, where I can get away with not having to put any stress on my shoulder.

For the long term, though, I’m finally rethinking my yoga options and am considering giving up on vinyasa flow altogether. Right now, my two best options are Bikram and Iyengar. But I haven’t seen any Iyengar being offered in Center City Philadelphia, and Bikram is something that I’ve just never really been able to get on board with…

In any case, assuming I can manage to get back into some sort of yoga practice with some sort of regularity, I hope to begin posting again on this blog. I see on the administrator’s page that the blog is still getting some 300+ hits a day, so thank you to everyone who is still reading. I also noticed that the blog reached a significant milestone a few weeks ago–it passed 300,000 all-time hits! With any luck, I’ll be able to post again with some regularity and give readers something new to look at and think about.



2 thoughts on “Getting Ready for a Comeback (Again)

  1. Injuries are incredibly frustrating (for me, at least). I’m sure you’ve tried everything, but just in case you haven’t, try the Trigger Point Therapy Workbook by Clair Davies. I don’t work for him or anything, but that book helped me fix my shoulder after a year of pain and poor diagnoses. It took six months to work out all the myofacial problems, but it’s better than every now. Shanti

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