I’ve been feeling a bit off balance lately. My left shoulder started bothering me back in the fall. I first noticed it while swimming laps. I thought it would go away but it didn’t. So after going to the doctor and getting an MRI, I learned that I have severe tendonitis and a bone spur that is aggravating it. The prognosis: “If I were a betting man” said the doctor, “I’d say you will need surgery to shave the bone spur down.” Not wanting to jump into surgery (I’ve had enough of that lately!) he has me on an anti-inflammatory and will be starting physical therapy. I see him again in 6 weeks and then we’ll re-assess. I’m not sure, but I think as soon as I had a diagnosis, I started to feel worse! I can’t swim – not supposed to lift my arm over my head (hard to swim the crawl with one arm!). And what about yoga? I don’t want to give up the one thing that makes me feel grounded and peaceful!
I was able to ski last weekend though. As long as I avoided the bumps and anything that would put a strain on my shoulder I was good. But, as most of us in the East know, this hasn’t exactly been a stellar year for skiing! What can I do to keep balance? I went to my 8:30 am yoga class this morning hoping I could find enough modifications to make my practice work for me. Suzanne, my wonderful instructor was back from a month-long retreat and she made some suggestions for modifications. I avoided the poses that I knew would hurt my shoulder (chaturanga, knees, chest , chin, shoulder stand) and I modified my arm position for the other poses, avoiding stretching my left arm over my head. After shavasana I stayed for the meditation. The end result? I walked out of class feeling balanced both in body and mind!