Primary Friday: The Forbidden Arc

(Photo credit:  Rebecca Gallagher)
Had a nice mid-afternoon Primary today to wrap up a packed little week.  I flew home on Tuesday and hit the ground running.  Feels like I've been out and about non-stop since the landing, trying to gather up the slack from my week away.  Fortunately, tomorrow is a rest day and I'm all caught up with the daily grind, so next week should be of a more mellow flavor.

As you may recall from my last post, I waded back into the Intermediate pool for the first time since my surgery while visiting family in the Midwest.  The practice felt good at the time, but there have been some worrisome delayed repercussions.  Though the incisions have healed well enough, there is a distinctive sensation of tissues tearing if I try to bend back too far, followed later by swelling and the sensation of bruising but without the color.  Clearly, more recovery time is needed.  I wonder why this hasn't kicked in until now...

Backbends, especially those involving shoulder extension (a la Urdhva Dhanurasana and Kapotasana) are completely out.  So I've been sticking with Primary minus the finishing backbends and supplementing that with the occasional Vinyasa practice to give me a little more freedom in the front-body opening options.  I'm also taking this opportunity to work on strengthening the core a little more in the interest of finally getting those handstands and pretty floaty things under my belt.  As many of you know, I do pull-ups and chin-ups from time to time to keep my shoulders safe from all the Chaturangas.  Well, a couple of weeks ago I started doing pike pull-ups, with the legs lifted parallel to the floor for the duration of the set.  The first time I tried it, I could feel my body grabbing in all the right places, all the spots I try to access when practicing handstands and pikes and the like.  Today's Primary revealed that they are indeed making a difference, and I'm excited to see how much this supplemental practice can help.

It's hard not doing the backbends.  Everything about Primary makes my body simply beg for it, not to mention the fact that backbends, especially the drop backs, have been instrumental in managing the two bulging discs in my low back.  In this past week alone, I have noticed an increase in the compression I feel around the spine and that old familiar "crunchy" feeling in the early forward folds.  Not good.  Must bend back.  A compromise is needed.  For now, Setu Bandhasana (Bridge Pose) and Ustrasana (Camel Pose) will have to suffice.


  1. Hmm, I hope for speedy recovery for you. It's interesting that you do basic strength training as well. I'm hoping to run a bit again some time, I used to run with a back pack, often on my way to and from work, and it bulks up muscles more than regular running. I've always had trouble keeping the backs of my legs flexible, though, it's my really, really weak point when it comes to yoga. I read your post on seated forward bends and you answered my comment about it not long ago - it's funny, I am in this slow, slow process (I think/hope) of healing from illness, and my only exercise is fifteen-twentyfive minutes of yoga per day, but the last month I've been having such pain in my back thigh- and butt muscles! Haha - sorry :-). I remember you mentioned bad feelings being stuck or harbored or gathered there, so I hope it is a sign that I am "releasing" something. Well, at least I take it as a sign that I'm right in going slowly. Wow. How I love yoga... Hope you're back in the back bending business soon, haha, and nice w-e to you ;-)

  2. Stay away from forward bends completely if you have bulging disks. I wish you a speedy recovery!

  3. Anne - It can take years for the hamstrings to finally let go of whatever it is they're holding on to, especially if you've been a runner in the past. Patience and practice are the only course of action.

    Yyogini - The bulging discs are an old injury. I've managed them well, but like I said, the backbends have been instrumental, so without the backbends I'm noticing them a little more. Forward bends are okay at this point as long as I'm careful not to round the back.