ashtanga injuries and a sufferfest roleplay

Bit of whinging backstory, then on with the kick-ass fun stuff….

In my 2nd year of Ashtanga Yoga, I injured my hamstring attachment, giving me a deep ache that took months to heal. No forward bends. I did Surys with bent legs and switched to a heavily modified Intermediate (just the start, with all the backbends). Months later, I returned to Primary, playing it SUPER cautious with the forward bends, with newly tightened hamstrings.

A year later my forward bends were back to where they had been pre-injury. Finally.

When, whammo, the injury resurfaced. I ran a short, sudden sprint to the mailbox before the postman drove away, causing a flare of the old pain, and then at my next practice I felt it go for real in utthita hasta padangusthasana. Damn it! Months again to heal from that one.

[I didn’t blog that one. Too freaking boring.]

[/end backstory]

Now, here we are, another year later, hamstrings are finally, finally returning to pre-injury flexibility. Yay!

…BAM. I ran down the drive to give Luc his hoodie and that old injury started aching. Again.


This is so…annoying!

Have I destabilized that attachment such that any strain and it gets inflamed/torn/whatever once again? Injury reactivation? Is it going to be another year of half-practices, at least where forward bends are concerned? Is it related to getting to a certain flexibility level, something in there is too loose at that point or something, because it keeps happening just when I return to that comfortable hamstring flexibility level…? I am SO CAUTIOUS in my practice with forward bends, and yet, here it is again…

So [kicks ground] I’m taking this week off yoga. Heat and ice. NOT running. I really thought it was healed, finally. There had been no pain at all for nearly a year!



Time for some ANTI-YOGA.

Maybe it was hubby pedaling to work each day on the new ELF. Or maybe it was a TED talk I watched recently (can’t find it now to save my life! will add link if I do) that spoke of the mood elevation that comes with only 30 min/4x week of elevated heart rate workout. And who couldn’t use a mood elevator? Maybe the Doctor and Rose, they always seem so perky. Definitely it was frustration at this sort-of-limping lame-ass walk I’ve got right now. But anyway, I unburied the coat rack oh, what’s under here? omg, look it’s a stationary bike. I also pulled out the heart rate monitor. Because fucking-A, I decided to do some cycling.

Well, you know, my version of cycling. I’m a total wimp, of course. A wimpy wimp from Wimp Town. I’m terrified of cars and pain and sweating. My cycling is like, oh, look at the butterflies!

Anyway, I had this idea that I would find an app on my ipod to track my biking/heart rate/something motivational.

And then, for some idiotic, unknown reason, I downloaded an app called THE SUFFERFEST.

Maybe my finger slipped.

Sufferfest is this collection of videos, see, with pounding song playlists and footage from big races like the Tour de France, plus the occasional T-rex chasing your ass. The vids take you through a cycling workout of various types, with timers, changing difficulty levels, intervals, and funny coach-like admonishments “Let’s see some spit!” “More cowbell!” “What are you doing back there? Move it!”

I dunno, I felt like kicking some pretend butt or something? Competition, suffering as pleasure (“Sufferlandria is like fun. Only different.”), pushing yourself harder and harder—it really is the anti-yoga. And maybe I’m feeling a little anti-yoga this week.

What the heck, I downloaded one, a 45 minute video called The Revolver. Oddly, stationary biking doesn’t hurt my hamstring at all (maybe because my leg is bent the whole time?) so I climbed on and let this app tell me to suck it up. (“Close that gap, you gap opener!”)

It was…like getting high. The music, changing scenery, footage of these crazy people racing through mud and snow, I mean, when does that get fun, but yeah, it helped me stay with it until I got all sweaty and flushed and hooting (“Mom, what is wrong with you?”), goal accomplished. Nice mountain views when you were supposed to be coasting and resting before the next attack, too. Very pretty.

See how I used “attack” there, cycling jargon FTW! I do need a glossary for some of these biking terms, makes me feel like an old woman. But strangely, I enjoyed the whole kill it philosophy of “I will beat my ass today so I can kick your ass tomorrow.” Who needs ahimsa? Death and mayhem! Burn and Pillage! (In that order!)

Not that I will ever race anyone for real. And honestly, I am doing the Revolver (three times now) at total WIMP LEVELS. But that’s okay, we measure in personal perceived difficulty, right? My scale ain’t your scale, ain’t Lance Armstrong’s scale. I’m fine with that. Wimps Unite! (Besides, I’m injured. I really hope I’m not making things worse with this….)

It’s like I’m doing a role play of being a bad ass cyclist chick. Yeah, I’m kicking it, I’ve got muscles, I’m wearing lycra, sup? I’m not a cyclist but I play one on tv! Or on my ipod….

I may be a four year in Ashtangi, but ashtanga is not a cardiovascular workout, at least not for me. And since I’ve kind of felt ashtanga is enough, as in, I’m not doing anything else, I realize I haven’t had much cardio the last few years. In contrast to this, doing a Sufferfest heart-rate-slamming cycling workout is kind of…awesome. I’d forgotten that feeling of being flushed and pumped.

Anyhoo, no, I’m not really giving up yoga, even if we’re having a little tiff and I’m off playing around with someone else. It’s just a fling, I’m sure. It doesn’t mean anything.

The plan is to start back to yoga next week, the weak-ass, whimpy, back-of-the-class yoga that I do when I’m hurt. Part of me is still fantasizing that a few days off and the hammy will spring back to nearly normal, as in, yay, I’m not looking at months to get to pain-free! But, yeah. We’ll see. In the meantime, I got out my beloved inferno wrap and have been sitting my hamstring on it, heating it up while drinking my morning tea and not doing yoga.

So annoying!

But, hey. It could be worse.

There should totally be a Sufferfest Ashtanga video. Seriously. Someone really needs to make that.

(It probably would kill that hamstring, though. So maybe not.)

8 thoughts on “ashtanga injuries and a sufferfest roleplay

  1. grimmly

    Sorry your hammies are playing up again NO FUN! Last time I suggested intermediate series but this time I’m thinking ..,.3rd think about it, inversions, it’s all inversions, perfect, at Christmas you can crack nuts with your biceps.

    No fun… But cycling…ish sound like it is.

    And hey, what’s this about Liv learning to swim on the beaches of Santorini.. : )

    1. maya Post author

      Grimmly! Well, you know, I must live vicariously through my characters. I think I might have written that Santorini bit around when you went the first time and I was so jealous, haha. Thanks for reading!

      As for 3rd, you’re obviously stark raving mad. I like that image of cracking nuts though, you know my weak spot. Hyperbole and posturing, that’s me.

  2. RebeccaBerlin

    I enjoy your blog & have never commented before – i was moved to an almost-comment by your daughter’s artwork – wow! she’s extremely talented. I hope she keeps drawing. My daughter also draws a lot (she’s 11) but it seems like it’s winnowing down lately in subject matter.

    I wanted to comment because I too have had a hamstring injury, am approximately around your age, and was able to get through it with my ashtanga practice. I believe I injured it during practice (unlike you). This was about 2 years ago. I had just returned to ashtanga after a 5-year hiatus caused by my moving away from Seattle, where I used to study and where my teacher was, and starting a new, intense job. Then, two and a half years ago, I came back to the practice and it was such an amazing, glorious thing to return to! But in rapid succession, within three months, I macerated my meniscus and also mildly upset my hamstring. That is, what I thought was a mild hamstring injury, turned out to take about a year to heal. But my attention was on the meniscus, which all the doctors I consulted told me I would have to have surgically interfered with. (Well, they were surgeons, what are they supposed to say) I decided to wait and practice cautiously with the hamstring/meniscus combo. I modified massively. Slowly, slowly, everything healed – to make a long story short. I never did get the surgery, and the hamstring pain also went away.

    But I wanted to tell you that I also used a home ultra-sound machine-thing, with a healing herbal gel. I got it for my knee, but also used it on my hamstring, as long as I had it going (this seemed cost-effective). I do think it helped with the hamstring, helped it heal. I bought the ultrasound contraption online, and although it was a big outlay (something like $300), it was really helpful.

    I thought i’d shared that … good luck in healing the hamstring.

    1. maya Post author

      Hi Rebecca, so nice to meet you! I’m glad your injury healed. it sounds like you hurt it two+ years ago and it took a year to heal, so you’ve been feeling good for a bit longer than a year? Beware re-injury, because sheesh, I have been there, healed (I thought), twice already, and here I am again, injured in exactly the same spot. “Healed” hasn’t been as healed as I thought.

      I haven’t pulled out the ultrasound machine yet on this round, although I’ve got my infrared heat wrap going. I’d be curious what made you feel the ultrasound was useful, how you could tell it was working. I never felt sure. I wanted to feel sure because it was expensive, ha! did you use it on your knee, too, or just the hammy?

      Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting.

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