17 Apr 2011

Sisyphus Syndrome

Got a whole new spurt of yogic inspiration, positive thinking, full of love and light, had the most wonderful practice; focussed, calm, smooth, almost got my ankles in Kapotasana, feet locked and comfy in Yoga Nidrasana, even decided to go all out and add on Tittibhasana A and B, back bends good, worked on parallel feet albeit with heels lifting considerably coming up.  I didn't push too hard, everything felt good and open and very energetic.  There was one glitch, Supta Vajrasana when I put my right leg into lotus there was  a cracking sound, not sure if it was hip or knee, think knee and then a little pain, so I layed off it for that asana and continued.  The ending lotuses were OK, a teeny weeny pain but nothing major.  Finished practice, felt wonderful, had a lovely evening.

However, the next morning, before I even move I am aware of pain, big pain in my right leg.  Pain that makes me hobble around unable to put weight on it while coming down stairs...what the ...  ?  First time ever for this.  I had pain on the front and side of my hip and the inside knee and back inner knee.  Feels a little like a ski accident I had with damagaed ligaments.  A day of pain. A day of rest.  Next three days ladies holiday, topped off with a full moon tomorrow.   Good timing. Total rest needed for this one.

Went to see the healer the next morning.....seemed to help, movement coming back, four days on now and walking and stairs and squatting OK, but bent with external rotation as in Janusirasana still painful.

Am beginning to feel like Sisyphus.  I get over one thing, a brief reprise of regular feel good practice and then, here we go again. February had me out a bit with my shoulder, heals, then March with earthquake induced craziness, now right leg for April.  Feels like I irritated a ligament in my knee.  Looked at my anatomy books, need to study more.  Oh well, maybe that is the purpose of this, to become better aquainted with the intricacies of my hip and knee.

Ha!  Then I was checking my spelling for Sisyphus... and found:

Sisyphus 'syndrome'
Psychiatry A mindset typical of a stress-driven type 'A' person, who obtains no gratification from accomplishing the difficult goals he or she places upon himself or herself.

Can relate a little, not stress driven, but gratification upon achieving goals.....achieve one and then straight onto the next.  Hmmmmm something in that perhaps.
Any advice? Opinions? Same experience? Cyber shala, help!!


  1. Dear Esther

    Albert Camus wrote "the myth of Sisyphus" about someone who was ordered to roll up a stone up hill and every time he was near the top, the ball would roll over him. I'm not surprised psychiatrists have turned to the word to make it an "illness".

    I have exactly the situation you have on the leg, but on my left leg. It's been going on for a year. As you can discern from my writing, I have been practicing since December at home. The problem started last May. I was then practicing six months at the shala. My teacher's theory was that I was riding a gearless bike to the shala and later to work, and the stop and start of riding in traffic was tensing my muscles. I agree with him. But I also think that maybe I was pushing too much and too often to bind in Marichyasana D. I had been able to do this unassisted for years. Here, I was being assisted and perhaps a bit too strongly. Sometimes an assist can be more harmful than helpful. It's better to do a pose to where one's body is allowing than to reach a full expression of the asana because of greediness to do so.

    Nowadays, I cannot bind in the left side poses. The muscles on the left make a lot of "sproing" noises and move a lot. It's kind of scary. Lately the problem is not so bad because the weather is warmer and the temperature in the yoga tent warmer. I think warmer temperatures help. Cold muscles don't bend well.

    I can bind in bada padmasana once in a great while. But it's difficult now. I'm hoping all of this heals and I can bind again evenly. There probably are names for these conditions. I think that an expert in anatomy like David Keil has named the condition. I don't remember where I read it, maybe in an old post by Alfia.


  2. Sorry to hear about the knee, hope it sorts itself out quickly. Of course ,in Camu's Sisyphus there's still that affirmation of existence as he saunters down the hill back to his rock. Guess that's the good stretches of practice in between the injuries.

  3. I can relate! My practice feels the same ... a stretch with things open and ok and then a longer stretch dealing with injury. I think it's part of practice actually. As long as we are careful to learn from the injuries, and by that I don't just mean physically... you might have a lot of tension in you from what you have just been through and it might need to come out this way.

  4. Thank you guys. Arturo, that could be it, I have riding my bike like a fiend. . . Did a long run the other day and knee wasn't quite right, and then as Loo pointed out all the extra tension of late, thank's for the perspective, now to find me a copy of Camus's Sisyphus. . .