Back to a regular Ashtanga Vinyasa primary practice again.
Or so I thought.
My lumbar injury has been steadily improving over the last year and I've been gradually introducing my body back into the practice for the past few months. It seemed to have repaired enough for me to start doing the full practice with Renate again.
I have abundant energy and I love this practice.
I really missed doing it from start to finish, and felt great joy practicing again.
But now I'm convinced - it hurts me.
It is definitely aggravating my worn facet joints.
I did a careful practice alongside Renate on Saturday - no jumping, just gently stepping through the vinyasas, modifying some of the poses like Parivritta Parsvakonasana and all the Marichys, skipping Bhuja and Supta Kurmasana, no rolling in Garbha Pindasana etc...etc...
but still I ended up in pain and feeling crippled for two days. The inflamed tissues around my lumbar spine, sacrum and hips stiffened up, immobilising my joints.
Upon reflection, I realise that there are no particular poses that are aggravating the condition.
Its the repeated movement from forward bend to back bend that is characteristic of, and integral to the Ashtanga practice that's causing the tissue inflammation and the shooting nerve pains.
I noticed during the forward bend sequence how resistant my body was to Upward Dog in the vinyasas. I had to take an extra breath every time I moved into this pose to stretch open the front of my body after the forward bend. There is no elasticity in the tissues around my lumbar and hips. If I stretch them strongly one way, they don't bounce back in time to stretch the other way.
And the post-practice condition is excruciating.
Sadly I think I might have to stop practicing with Renate and her friends on Saturday mornings. It wouldn't feel right to be doing a completely different practice in the same room as 4 people who are all following each other through the choreographed Ashtanga steps.
Tonight I came home from work and spent over an hour on my mat:
7 minutes in Headstand
15 minutes in Shoulderstand and most of the variations
Virasana, Pryankasana, Supta Virasana
Janu Sirsasana for 10 breaths
Ardha Baddha Padma Paschimottanasana for 10 breaths
A passive backbend over a bolster
A passive inversion with a block in my shoulderblades (pictured)
It was quite simply rich, sweet and indulgent.
So I'm finally letting go of the Ashtanga dream...and doing what feels best for my body.