So long, SI pain!

Good god, Jim! The last time I felt like this, Cynthia and Ky had come to do Advanced with us after winning the International Championship in 2007. It was the first class I felt like I was making progress in my body, not just surviving or recovering. Not only can I pick up my foot in Standing Head-to-Knee, but I can put my head on my knee at 6:30 am.

Bella was about 18 months old at the time. We have some really cute pictures of her in class with us and her soggy diaper. It was the first time I felt like I could actually try in Guillotine without dislodging my sacrum on the left.

My strength is back. I have control over my abdominal muscles. I can actually hold Peacock and Cock and Lifting Lotus. I really never anticipated that I would take so long to get back to those places. The first time I tried Peacock postpartum it was like I had never done it before.

Cock? Postpartum, I was back to being able to lift my Lotus up only a half an inch! I remember sitting down the day after Bella was born and leaning forward. My rectus abdominus actually folded in half! My only consolation was that I knew I had done it before, so I knew I would get there again.

My flexibility is progressing. I can finally push in Hands-to-Feet, Tortoise, Rabbit and Frog. For nearly five years, every time I would try to go deeper, it would cause that horrifying sacroiliac pain. The chiropractor helped me to get my sacrum level again in 2007, but tight psoas and piriformus kept straining the joint.

I have to credit Emmy Cleaves with resolving my SI and hip problems. When I saw her in November 2010 at the Women’s Retreat in Orlando, she helped every woman in the room with hip pain. “If you have a chronic pain in the hip, it can generally be traced to Triangle.” She corrected each and every one of us. She sat right on me. Rode me like a donkey.

The only correction Bikram has ever given me was to push my hips more forward in Triangle. Laura always corrects me to get my hip forward, but I never got it until she showed us all of the pit falls. I’d get my hip forward, but my whole torso would come with it. I’d get low enough, but I’d have tilted my hips in the set up. More often than not, I just wasn’t pushing my left hip forward because my psoas was too tight.

Since then, my pain has been slowly diminishing. I stretch my hip flexors and piriformus every single day. Now that I bring my attention to them, I can feel how tight they are in Half Moon back bend and Camel. My hips have been sore for about three months. In a great way. Like I’m doing double sessions for rugby. Triangle is hard as hell every single time.

I’ve also been seeing Paul Caswell at Performance Muscular Therapy in Portsmouth. Absolutely amazing. My first visit, I thought I was going to jump up off the table and punch him. Or maybe just bawl my baby blues out.

I knew I had tight hips, but I had no idea I had so much garbage in my hamstrings and quadriceps. By the third session, the massage to my legs and hips just felt like a deep massage. I was shocked by the absence of pain. Gives me hope for the future. I conquered the back pain in 2004 and the hip pain in 2011. Namaste, BABY!

Pregnancy Blog 2: Three Months Post Partum

Sacroiliac Sprain

At least this time I know what it is. That pain I suffered with for six months after the birth of my daughter, I was able to identify at six weeks this time. I again have a sprain of the sacroiliac ligaments on the left hand side. Painful, but manageable. The hard part is my ego.

It’s so hard not to be able to do the postures normally. Now that I’m not pregnant or immediately postpartum, I just want to be able to do the class. I was set up in front of a new student yesterday and all I could think was, “Don’t copy me!”

Since puberty, I’ve always had issues with my left hip. Apparently the hormones and weight changes of pregnancy cause a sprain for me in the ligaments in the SI joint. Since the sacroiliac joint is a load-bearing joint that is not intended to move much (outside of pregnancy) any time it does move, it is incredibly, searingly painful.

For any of my lovies out there with postpartum SI issues, the main goal in practicing is stabilization of the joint. You can’t push it in any postures that flex the hip deeply, or that rotate or extend the spine deeply, particularly when the hips are fixed (floor bow, camel, spine twist). Pushing through the pain there, will only aggravate the sprain. The only thing to do is go easy in those types of movement, but keep the buttocks and hamstrings strong and flexible and give the area time to heal.

Stretches to the iliopsoas muscles and piriformus can help. Certain supplements are supposed to aid in healing ligaments. They take a while. That’s why sports therapists always say a broken bone is better than a sprained ankle. Remember, too, that there will still be some relaxin in your body for nine months postpartum, making your ligaments softer than normal.  It is wise to wait the entire nine months (even if it starts feeling better) before looking for more depth in those particular postures.

Judah is still sleeping better than Bella did for the first two years of her life, so I’m feeling pretty good otherwise. Spring is coming and who can’t be happy about that in New England?