So, I’m a little embarrassed about this…and still a little bit disbelieving, but the other day I got a concussion practicing Ashtanga.
I have a propensity for head injuries…must be something karmic, but even so, this was totally crazy!
This incident happened on Wednesday…it’s now Saturday and finally after some chiropractic, acupuncture and cranio-sacral on the day of the accident plus a little Reiki and Jin Shin accupressure from my sweetie yesterday I am just starting to feel okay again. I still have a tiny bit of a headache but I’m finally feeling a little more grounded. Ever since I hit my head I’ve been an emotional mess! I’m starting to plan our wedding (!!) so I’ve been spending a lot of time on wedding blogs recently, but these past few days since my concussion, I seriously start to cry at the drop of a hat, so I’m looking at cookie-cutter totally boring wedding photos and yet suddenly I start to whimper and tear-up….it’s totally pathetic. Then we went to see 50/50 last night (which is actually really great) and I was a total sobfest!
Moving on…. here’s a little background and some of my reflections on how/why this accident happened.
The past 6 weeks have been totally lame for my practice. First because I was on holiday in Maine and California for over 2 weeks (and not doing my full practice) and then I got home and felt worthless on the mat, then ladies holiday, subbing for another studio during Sunday Led Primary for 2 weeks in a row and then moon day, yada yada yada….. In the past 6 weeks I’ve only practiced my Second Series poses 3 times!! I’ve only practiced dropbacks 5 or 6 times in this time period too!
It wasn’t that I didn’t want to do my full practice, but that things just kept coming up preventing me from doing my full practice. I’ve been struggling with a lot of lower back pain these past two months – like in every single updog it hurts!
This brings us to Wednesday morning Mysore. ( I had practiced half-primary on Monday, plus an hour of Kundalini. Tuesday was moon day but I still practiced some Kundalini).
Wednesday I get to the shala and after a few Surya Namaskars my body feels surprisingly great! I have a rhythm going, I feel connected to my breath and, magically, all that pain in my lower back in all those updogs is GONE!
My stamina is not up to snuff though. When I finally get to Laghuvajrasana I’m weak and my teacher literally has to come pick me up out of the pose!
On to backbends…. I do 6 full wheels. They feel good. I’m working with this concept Scott Blossom shared about lifting up on the exhale in order to really pull the diaphragm up. This helps me have the space to open through my front body so I don’t crunch my lumbar spine. He also taught me that once I am up in wheel, to pull back on my heels – this really engages the hamstrings.
So I stand up – no problem! In fact I stand up so easily that I almost fall forward!
I stand there trying to get grounded, preparing for my first dropback. I still have some fear around going back and it had been awhile since I had tried, so I stood there for a few moments trying to psych myself up. I have my hands in prayer at my heart and I decided that I just needed to go for it and stop thinking….so I start going back….I kept going and going and it felt good…. there was shockingly no pain – I felt so open!
Then suddenly BOOOOM! My head crashed onto the floor behind me. Somehow I really messed up on the timing with arms.
Sidenote: I cannot go back starting with my arms up like Jennifer does in the photo below – For some reason this just puts way too much pressure on my sacrum right now….so I go back until I’m really far and then I shoot my arms back/place them down gracefully – depending on the day….(not the best method, I know, but it’s what I’m working with right now).
But on Wednesday, my body was so open (and this threw me for a loop I guess) that I went back so easily that I misjudged my timing or something….and before I could catch myself, my head hit the mat….it was right at my hairline, so you can imagine how far arched over I was. Apparently, another student in the room saw it happened and she said my hands hit the ground the split second before my head…but even so, it didn’t stop the crash.
It’s all a bit of a blur in retrospect…but I crumpled to the floor and yelled “FUUUCK!”
Not something you hear (out-loud at least!) everyday in the Mysore room!
I knew it was bad …I’ve had 3 previous concussions, so as soon as I hit the ground I instinctively knew what this felt like….
And then, the tears came.
Floodgates opened and I sobbed uncontrollably. Thad held me and talked me down but I was in total shock…. I couldn’t believe it…still can’t.
I actually did shoulder stand and my final 3 lotus poses before savasana and then the tears came again…and for the rest of the day they were ever-present. Thank God I had an acupuncture appointment already scheduled for that afternoon! My acupuncturist gave me a powerful herbal tincture to help relieve some of the pressure and swelling in my head.
Until today it was totally impossible for me to bend over or lower my head without extreme pounding in my skull.
I’ve practiced some of standing series and a few restorative poses the past few days with some success. Breathing always helps.
I taught a Vinyasa class on Thursday with less success… it was hard to keep the flow of the class going with my pounding headache…plus it’s a beginner class so I normally do a fair amount of demonstration, which I was definitely not capable of doing on Thursday!
And here I am now….back at square one…..still wondering if I’m brave enough to go to Led Primary tomorrow….fearing that I’ll be out of practice for another few weeks….ugh!
I guess I better learn how to drop back with my arms up first….. or maybe I’ll work with the foam for awhile.
I was never very good about getting right back up on the saddle after a fall…. but I think I’m too stubborn and too obsessed with Ashtanga to let this one hold me back for long….
So here goes….
I’ll keep you posted.