I am 48 years old, a cyclist, a graphic designer, full-time mom, yoga practitioner/teacher and Yoga Tune Up® teacher. And, I forgot to mention, a very gifted juggler.
Life is busy. I’m usually pretty good with time management but sometimes it can hard to keep all those balls in the air. Between design jobs, practicing, teaching, taking care of my family and cycling, it is challenging. Last fall, I was asked to part of a cycling team called the Gruppo Sportivo Gran Fondo New York (feel free to use the google on the interwebs to look it up, it’s pretty cool) so my time commitment to cycling has experienced a considerable uptick. As such, my training has intensified over the last year.
In training, I work hard to apply principles of Yoga and Yoga Tune Up®. Especially the principles of alignment, non-harm and truth in order to prevent injury. So… it really, really sucked a few months ago when I did a “brick” workout I’d never done before, and hurt my left leg/knee. Everything was fine during and immediately following the workout. The next morning? Not so much. I woke up and the back of my left thigh, posterior and medial knee, lower vastus lateralis/medialis and the top of my quads felt congested, tight, twingy and pinchy. Especially the crescent shape around the medial knee. Full disclosure, I totally freaked out. I had not had a serious injury in 20 years. I had 5 weeks until my first race (which I ultimately skipped).
Ugh… seriously? I sort of need that knee for cycling. My first reaction was just to be pissed off. Pissed off at my leg, mad at my coach, angry at me, pissed at my sneakers, the road and my knee. You name it, I was pissed at it. Then I got upset, I cried and immediately decided I would probably need surgery and I’d never be able to cycle again. Then I got a grip. I got on a program of rest, ice and elevation for three days. I tried a light spin on day four, too early but there was improvement. I got the name of an orthopedist and a kinesiologist just in case. By day 4 I had come to think that it wasn’t so much my knee that was the issue, but all the tissues surrounding it and that maybe I should focus on what’s uptown and downtown of the joint. Ahhh, Grasshopper…
Enter the Yoga Tune Up® Quick Fix RX Knee Hab DVD. I occasionally do parts of the video as part of a lower body practice, use it as a learning tool and of course, teach it to students for their challenges. But, I had never had the needed to use it therapeutically for myself. So for my self prescribed healing process, I started with the PreHab section only, no exercise the first two days. Within hours I was able to sit more comfortably, felt less swollen overall and had better mobility in the joint and connected muscles, my gluteus maximus and calf specifically. From days 3-5, I continued with the PreHab and added theKneeHab portion, moving precisely and mindfully through each movement. Honestly, I think it was more because of fear than ability. With each day, I could actually tell which muscle groups were releasing from around the knee capsule. The vastus medialis, gracilis, tibialis anterior (ouch!) and finally the sartorius…which is apparently where I did the bulk of the damage. Quick FYI…the sartorius is a long strappy muscle that starts at the iliac crest and curves down the thigh, around the inner knee to connect at the tibia. Its job is to flex, abduct and externally rotate the hip and flex the knee.
So what did this teacher learn? One: I’m super grateful I didn’t do anything serious to the joint. Two: Use of the YTU Therapy Balls and specifically designed exercises solidified the concept that you create movement WITH movement, and that is key to joint and tissue health. The YTU Therapy Balls and KneeHab DVD did that safely and incrementally. On day 11 after the initial injury, I rode 47 miles and all the while the joint and surrounding musculature felt strong and stable. YTU teacher, heal thyself.
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