Thursday, October 09, 2008

A pain in the neck...

Okay, so holding a pose for 5 min.s is no easy feat. I can only stay in Trikonasana for about 2 1/2 minutes. It's not the leg strength or knees locking or holding the torso parallel to the floor. My neck can't take it. At about 1 1/2 minutes it gets very tight and even if I look forwards or down it continues to tighten until I have to stop. I tried the legs wider so I could touch the floor and I tried a block. No difference. What's that all about? (Actually, my left back shoulder has been giving me trouble for about 13 months and 2 weeks...hmm, that's the same age as a certain baby...)

It's interesting what you learn as you hold a pose for awhile. I'm so used to 5 breaths and then up, or just a demo in class, that I haven't been in a position (ha) to observe what is going on in my body for some time. So this is a good exercise to see what is up. And work on it.

How did you do?

(Next post, the modifications)


Mrs. in May said...

This is funny, I just got back from class and while in trikonasana something sort of creeked in my neck and I was just thinking about that while surfing the net and stumbled on your blog.

I love it and am going to join your asana project - that is, if my neck holds up.


Ivete said...

Sometimes when I'm doing it my hip and my lumbar hurt. Am I doing something wrong?

Lisa V. said...

I thought it was just me. Have you seen me turn my head during class? I can only gaze at the ceiling (on either side) for a maybe a minute. I've discovered that if I turn my head back to center for a breath or two, then turn back to shoulder/ceiling I can get another minute out of it without losing the entire pose.

We really don't use our neck muscles for much, since our skull balances on the spine so well. Holding the head up in this pose is one of the few times I feel like I'm really using more than just the bones to keep myself together. I do feel like I have good flexibility in my neck as I can complete the rotation around the spine in the seated twists.

Are there other asanas that might help to strengthen the neck muscles?

Jenn said...

Oops...I misunderstood the initial instructions. I didn't understand were were to HOLD it for 5 minutes each side. I'll give it a try that way and report back.

I have that neck issue sometimes too. I simply change my gaze to accommodate the needs of my neck while still maintaining the extension through my spine. Sometimes that's down. Sometimes that's straight forward.

My biggest I guess frustration right now with triangle is the difference in range of motion from one side to the other because of a sciatic issue on my left side. It makes comfortably finding triangle a challenge some days...depending on what I did the day before, how warm I am when I come into the pose, etc, etc. I'm working on having patience and being present in each side individually, trying not to compare. It's not an easy task for me.

greenfrog said...

I liked this post. When I wanted to increase my meditation time, I found that the torque in one of my knees which always started lightly grew to fire-y and disabling when I sat for longer periods. A teacher suggested I start with half-pigeon, to lengthen the muscles that needed to twist to avoid torquing the knee. I found that it helped a lot, but only if I learned to stay in half pigeon for 5-10 minutes per side before sitting. Getting used to that was a real challenge. I found that the pose became increasingly uncomfortable as the muscles I used to tension the pose fatigued and relaxed into stretches they were un-used to. Also, once the muscles gave way, the stretch reached the fascia and ligaments in ways that it couldn't when muscles were still strongly engaged.

Long story short, my knees are fine, now, no matter how long I sit, but I've learned a lot more about discomfort (safely) as a result of holding those poses for so long.

JoeyB said...

Really look at your aligment up and down the spine. Do not impose pain on your body and just connect with the gap in your breath. -John B.