Friday, February 1, 2008

Yoga Therapy for Pain in the Gluteal Muscle

The last three days I have been walking funny with this pain in my butt and the crushing massage from Jeremy on Wednesday made little impact. The pain simply got worse. It didnt help that I have to lug around this 40 pound back pack I carry with me to work. It includes my light weight Sony laptop (yes it recently lost to Apple's new MacBook which now claims to be the lightest in the world) but old electronic relics, papers, files, notebooks, my soon to expire passport, cell phones, batteries.. an accumulation of junk really. I am conditioned to carry weight on me. Oh! I digress again, but I think there is a connection of this bag to my chronic lower back pain. Imagine how much pain the 60 pounds of fat I carried on my body must have caused? Disgusting, self torture, but wait a minute I just had another "eureka" moment! I need to get rid of this back-pack and I need to lose another 10-20 pounds.

I visit Nuvana's house every other Friday evening for a family yoga session. This includes personal one-on-one yoga training from the goddess of iyengar yoga with my 5 and 7 year old and her 3 and 1 year old climbing all over me while I am in practice, using me as a human play structure. She just returned from India after spending 2 months in Mumbai, which included teaching yoga therapy once a week at the center run by Jawahar in Bandra (I have to visit him on my next trip) and 2 days in Pune at the Iyengar center during the recently concluded Annual Day. So with the pain becoming unbearable, I had to call her and she graciously invited me to come over this evening for yoga therapy.

Yoga Therapy?
I had a serious pain that needed immediate fixing. First came the made in india yoga strap just below my waist and around the "gluteus maximus" (see for more details). The belt had to be wrapped around so that it could be tightend in the anti-clockwise direction. Yes, the direction makes a huge difference in relieving the pain, so both directions were tried and I settled for the anti-clockwise direction. Then came a "half uttanasana". It hurt to push back and stretch. So we moved to the staircase in the living room, one of the props used in the yoga practice. I was sitting on the end of the stair case with my legs stretched and her feet pushing my feet, with my knees pulled in to stretch the calves. A few minutes of it brought immediate relief.

I then moved on to a badhakonasa, sitting high on 3 blankets, back supported by the wall and one step of straps around each leg to support the thighs. It was followed by strap supported Upavishtakonasana (strap aound the foot and worn around the lower waist above the thighs and then tightened in the opposite direction of each leg). We ended with a highly supported supta padangagusthasana. Within 90 minutes the pain had dissipated significantly. I could perform a highly strechted out Half Uttanasana on her wall ledge (another important prop) with much more ease and a lot less pain.

I came home more relaxed. I have a strap around my gluteus maximus ala butt, tightened in the anti-clockwise direction. I am relaxed, with less pain, lounged in a couch potatoe pose writing this blog and watching meaningless television, "Gardening with Ciscoe Live on NWCN channel". Its a video moment really, and one of these days, it will appear on this blog. I figured we get enough visual stimulation with TV/Video so reading some bad english writing for a change would be more preferable.

Life would be a lot more painful without yoga therapy and magic of Nuvana. Thanks Nuvana and welcome back!


The Yogi

NOTE OF CAUTION: If you are a novice or new to yoga, or even if you are an experienced yogi, please do not try what I described above without proper supervision of a trained and certfied Iyengar teacher who specializes in yoga therapy. If you are in the Portland metro area visit for more information or visit to find a certified Iyengar yoga teacher in your city, state or country. It will change your life!

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