Tuesday, October 23, 2012

No. 590 – Deadwing

Performer: Porcupine Tree
Songwriter: Steven Wilson
Original Release: Deadwing
Year: 2005
Definitive Version: None

Deadwing wasn’t the first Porcupine Tree song that I heard. In fact, Deadwing wasn’t even the first Porcupine Tree album that I owned. But Deadwing, which leads off the album by the same name, of course, was the song that convinced me beyond any doubt that Porcupine Tree was a great—not good—band.

At about the time that that conclusion solidified in my brain, I began a big break from yoga for reasons not entirely of my choosing. I mentioned I had been searching for a new teacher after my favorite teacher moved to daytime sessions, and I thought I had found her in 2011.

Dorrie was cool. She seemed to have a good energy about her and a way of speaking, and it didn’t hurt that she provided some nice eye candy to stay motivated. She played music, which I didn’t particularly like, but her choices for the most part were suitable. In other words, her classes weren’t like spiritual aerobics, like other classes I had recently attended.

But I wasn’t a huge fan of her position flow. Some pose transitions seemed unnatural and forced. It didn’t bother me enough to change classes, and the timing of the class—10 a.m. Saturday—was good in that it wasn’t too early in the morning but early enough that it didn’t cut into the day. So for a while, it seemed I had found a longer term replacement to Paul.

However, that changed in September 2011. I remember distinctly that it was during the Pigeon portion. My practice had improved to the point where when we made the reach back for the foot after coming out of Pigeon, I could stay up on both knees without planting my opposite hand for the twist. (If you know yoga, you understand what I’m talking about. If not, it doesn’t matter.)

A side note: One of my first yoga teachers said something that stuck with me, about how yoga is not what you do but what you can do. In other words, it’s not a competition; you do what you can.

Well, I’m a competitive person—not so much with others, but with myself. When I show I can do something, I expect to always be able to do it and perhaps improve. I approached yoga the same way. I was constantly improving, almost weekly and certainly monthly, in what I could do, so I kept pushing myself to do more.

I must have reached back for a bit too much that September class, because when we moved back into down dog, pain shot through my right shoulder like someone shivved me with a hot butcher knife—to where I nearly collapsed face first on my mat.

The pain went away as soon as we shifted into the next pose, and I experienced nothing more than a slight soreness the rest of the weekend. I thought it was a momentary tweak.

But when I went to the gym the next Monday, I realized instantly when I tried to do the overhead shoulder press machine that it was no tweak. I couldn’t lift my usual weight. It’s not that it hurt when I tried; I physically couldn’t make the motion—my right shoulder was too weak. It was only when I backed off three plates (half the weight) that I could lift it with some effort.

OK, that’s no good. However, having the same genes as my father and grandfather meant that I didn’t do anything about it. I started by just assuming that if I just didn’t perform that one exercise or backed off during Pigeon, I’d be OK. Whatever injury I had would heal itself in time.

It never did. Although I didn’t have more pain than just a nagging soreness every once in a while, the weakness never went away. Eventually, the frequency of the soreness started to increase.

So I finally went to a doctor in March 2012 to see what was what. The doctor had me do a couple of minor physical tests and from that, she concluded I should get an MRI and see an orthopedic surgeon. Great. Now what have I done?

(To be continued)

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