I have the supreme privilege of writing you today with new insight. I can now tell you what it feels like to tear/sprain/strain your meniscus. Frankly, Im not sure which of the adjectives are appropriate because I, like many freelancers, have no insurance and, therefore, go into the doctor only when I fear something may fall off. My doctor is very flexible with me and so understanding that I am not sure how he is not practicing out of a cardboard box.* Still, I try to keep the visits to a minimum.
On Monday, not at my usual studio, I was shifting my weight around in lotus and I heard a 'pop' in my knee. Knees are notorious for being fickle. I know this because at my studio the teachers watch the knees like hawks. In fact, as if they were hawks and your little round knee-caps were their eggs. I had heard of the 'dreaded pop' before and knew this might be an issue. I unfolded myself and became hyper-aware of my knee. Oddly, there was no pain. I figured maybe I was okay and wrote my home-base studio owner when I got home (this is why being at a knowledgeable studio is important). I told her precisely what had happened, what sensations I was getting and at what points. It was like car-talk for the human body. She responded right away with, "meniscus," a list of things to watch out for, modifications to poses, and how we would determine the severity of the injury. Eff Allstate, Im in good hands already.
For those of you about to scream, "she's not a doctor," (Hi, mom!) chill. As I said, I wouldn't have gone to the doctor anyway. Plus, there isn't any pain, just a 'loose' sensation in my knee so, had it not been for my involvement in the yoga world, I wouldn't even acknowledge this as an issue; I would be skipping merrily to the club having no inkling. If it starts to hurt or immobilize me I will dutifully call in the standard medicine-men.
|'Tis only a flesh wound!|
Two points I would like to make:
- I did not hurt myself in the beginers' Bikram Yoga series, so don't freak out and go all "New York Times" on me. The designated postures are as safe as walking.** The chosen inversions don't have you balancing on your neck, arms extended, for a reason. There is no lotus in the series.
- I was not going into the pose with aggression or ego. I know that the running theory is that if you don't go in with ego you will be fine. This brings me to the point I want to make regarding my new Exercise in Patience.***
Given #2 shouldn't I have been safe? Yes and no. The posture I was doing isn't in the beginner's series for a reason. Aside from that though, The yoga room is not magic. You do not get wrapped in a bubble of anti-wound the minute you step on whatever foam has been designated a yoga-mat by Lululemon. I take issue with people who get defensive about yoga injuries. Injuries are most-often caused by aggression or ego but sometimes they happen without it. You can choke eating. That does not mean that you should declare eating dangerous and stop.
The Boy said it beautifully when I came home, head bowed in shame afraid of being chastised for hurting myself. His response to my Exercise in Patience? He told me matter-of-factly, "Welcome to the world of physical activity." He is absolutely right. I can (and have) hurt myself walking. That does not mean it is better for my health to do my grocery-shopping in a hover-round. Although, what a lovely excuse for one!
I have long road ahead of me. One that promises to be graced with many hard lessons. I anticipate learning about sympathy, patience, perseverance and limitations. None of those sound pleasant but I can already pin-point a few I could use. My instructors are amazingly sympathetic and are helping me both emotionally and physically -- I am only on day two and I have already gone from laughing at myself to crying over my lost competition poses to anger. This is going to be a riot. I'll share the lessons I can articulate as they come. Those that I can't articulate we can assume come from a pain-induced delirium. Haha, just kidding...I hope.
* I have even, on his suggestion, sent photos of horrid looking skin conditions while he is on vacation. All this free of charge. I owe the man my left kidney, also, my right, but he won't take them.
** I don't have stats to back this up; just go with it.
*** That's what I've decided to call my injury. You like it? Evidently, this may take a year or so to heal. Hence AFO (Another Fucking Opportunity). I am starting over again in tree pose, which will be especially emotionally trying considering I was working on full bow-legged. I am an instant-gratification sort of person. This is going to be a hard lesson.