Tag Archives: Bikram Yoga

Let’s Skate!

26 Feb

It’s been a long hiatus from skating and my blog! I haven’t had a private lesson in a year and so I haven’t had any new lessons to share. For the first time in a very long time though I’ve skated at least once a week for the past month and a half. So, I have been working on getting some of my moves back and thinking about updating my blog.

First, the knee is not healed. Nope, no miracle there BUT it’s getting to be manageable. So, what have I been doing for the past year? Well, I’ve been going to a chiropractor for my alignment issues and that has seemed to help with my hip and lower back although maybe not so much directly for the knee. Most recently I have been seeing a massage therapist and that has really helped loosen my IT band a bit which has helped the knee. Finally, I have been doing bikram yoga again. That seems to be the absolute key to maintaining my knees.

In my last post a year ago I wrote that I would be doing bikram in an effort to help with my knee pain for skating. I can honestly say it helps tremendously with the knee issue but I will admit to having avoided it till this past November. If you have ever tried bikram you’ll know that it can be somewhat painful to lay or bend in a room heated to 105 degrees Fahrenheit for 90 minutes.  I tried running and swimming and generally everything but bikram in an effort to get into shape this past year without dealing with the knee pain/skating issue. So while I successfully avoided having any knee pain with those activities, any time I did any exercise with skating the knee pain would flare again so I avoided skating all together. Exercise while moderately enjoyable (I do like running) was pretty much just plain exercise without skating. I realized skating was just too much fun as a sport and too much a part of my life to just not do it anymore so I’m back with the bikram.  I’m doing it once a week with skating 2x a week now to see if it keeps the knee pain in check. I admit I’ve been stubborn, I should have done this last year but I thought I could avoid the bikram heat and somehow find my way back to skating another way. Dropping the weight with running last summer certainly helped but nothing gave my knees the relief that bikram yoga does. I do have to admit that bikram is not all that bad. I get an amazing stretch and I always feel so much more energized afterwards.

At any rate, I’m back skating for now with the bikram and I have been working on my camel spin all by my lonesome. I’ve also been working on getting my sit spin back to what it was in a lower position and I’ve been working a little bit on my 8 step mohawk sequence and spirals.

At any rate, I was at the outdoor rink near me a few weeks ago and I had my oh so patient boyfriend record my camel attempts. I’ve posted one below.

It’s one of my rare good attempts and I’m keeping this one to show myself that I will eventually be able to do a decent camel spin. I just need to hold that outside edge and learn to stay down in the knee before popping into it. We also recorded my loop jumps but I’ll save those for another day 😉 I’ll be looking into private lessons soon if the knee continues to stay in check.

In other related skating news… I just received a MAC eyeshadow called “Let’s Skate” from a friend of mine. It’s a pale pink and shimmery, very skaterish if I do say so myself but not overly gaudy. Now, I’m not a MAC person and I typically do not skate around with makeup on but I have to say I was pretty excited by this little pot of shimmery goodness. I took a photo for those of you obsessed with anything skating related even a pot of eyeshadow! 

"Let's Skate" MAC eyeshadow
“Let’s Skate” MAC eyeshadow

Gotta share the skate love!

Till next time!

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Shifting the Focus

8 Feb

Up until November I was skating 4-5 times a week. All in an effort to take the silver moves and freestyle tests by January or February at the latest. The final goal being to compete at adult sectionals and adult nationals in March and April. Since sectionals were to be where I lived I was very excited to work towards that goal.

However, it’s February now and did I take the test? No, unfortunately it didn’t happen. Not from lack of trying though, this time I didn’t have a choice. I just couldn’t skate anymore without major pain. It had become completely impossible to skate crossovers let alone silver level moves patterns down the ice.

I  had started my training last August from scratch and worked very hard at achieving my former level of skating (pre-summer) before actually working on test elements. August and September were also spent in group lessons rehashing the basics and learning a few new moves. I really focused on my moves like I never did before. Always being obsessed with freestyle this was a new focus for me. I wasn’t worried about the silver freestyle test, it was the moves I completely stressed about.

By the end of October, I had decided to take private lessons again and was ready to start working seriously on the silver moves patterns. I doubled my efforts on perfecting the 8-step mohawk sequence and then started in on the forward power pulls (the bane of my existence!) as well as alternating backward inside and forward outside 3-turn pattern. I learned a new way to pull into my camel AND for the first time started experiencing a pretty stable spin. But then…. my knees starting getting worse, especially as I performed those power pulls on one leg over and over again. The pain in my left knee was so bad that as soon as I stepped on the ice and tried to complete any type of crossover or three turn I would feel immediate stabs of pain. Not only was unable to do crossovers but the forward power pulls on my left leg were completely out of the question. It seems that my focus on moves was putting a tremendous amount of stress on my knees something that I had never really had much of an issue with practicing freestyle… makes you think how much harder moves can be on your body, doesn’t it?

I had also noticed since September that my warm up time had been getting longer and longer and my knees had been getting stiffer and stiffer while I skated. I was determined though that I make it to testing in January so I went back to my “old” physical therapy exercises and ramped up the warm up before I got on the ice. Nothing worked. Ice, heat, wraps, nothing. I was taking ballet, I had to stop. I could hear the crackling of my knees and I’m pretty sure that the movements especially the jumping were just making things worse.

When I finally went to my new orthopedist and had my knee x-rayed the final prognosis was patella-femoral syndrome. Something like runners knee, extremely common. My choices were arthroscopic surgery to allow the knee to track better (something my old orthopedist never advised) or physical therapy. Of course, I went to physical therapy. As much as I was in pain, it seemed extreme to do surgery. I also took a week off skating to rest. Just until I felt a little better. Surely that would happen in a week or two of rest and therapy?

Not so, I did therapy for a month. Skated twice, both times with the same pain. It seemed to be getting worse not better with therapy. At the same time I was doing the elliptical on my own, walking or weight training trying to desperately find something I could do to exercise without pain so I could keep up my fitness level. It just wasn’t happening, even the elliptical hurt. So, I finally had to stop thinking about taking that silver test. Darn it! By December I knew I wasn’t going to be able to do it. I was disappointed to say the least.

Now, if you read back in my blog you’ll see reoccurring issues like this one over the past two years or so but nothing with pain so severe that would keep my off the ice for months just because of it. It was clear that this time I might need to really give up skating for a prolonged period of time or even for good!

Because… not only couldn’t I skate but I couldn’t really do anything else either. Walking sedately down the street seem to be the extent of my sportsmanship. Standing up, kneeling, going up stairs were all  a major pain and worse while I was skating. I wouldn’t even dream of running or jumping! So, I backed off the therapy and everything else in an effort to just give my body aka my knees a rest.

I completely stopped everything until maybe 3 weeks ago. Through the holidays and early January I avoided heels and anything remotely exercise related. I didn’t even look at skating because I knew I couldn’t handle it with my knee plus it depressed me ( to be honest). By January my knee was better, I could at least go up and down stairs without much pain just the usual slight achiness and I could go about my day to day schedule without an issue as well. It seemed that letting my knee rest had done some good.

I was left with this empty space though where skating and exercise had been. I knew my knee wasn’t really completely healed and I knew that as soon as I went back to skating it would come back.

… And it did. Something about the motion of skating just really aggravates it. So, I had my blades re-mounted and had new insoles put in hoping that it was an alignment issue. No such luck.

Now, I’ve never been a person of half measures. I am an all or nothing type of girl. Thinking about only skating once every 2 weeks or so just so my knee can have a time to recuperate each time was and still is to me like not being able to skate at all. So, I started looking at other options. It was clear to me that not having skating or any form of exercise was driving me and yes, my boyfriend completely crazy. I’ve always known it was a stress relief and a major outlet but after not skating for 2 1/2 months I realized once again how important the act of skating it is. However, I think it’s slowly killing my joints. I’m saying that in a nice way. I’ve gained much from the sport but after years of twisting myself into strange positions on the ice and repetitively jumping on thin steel blades I think that my body was/is trying to tell me enough is enough. My body is in knots, completely tight from repetitive use of the same muscles etc. and the knees are just the tip of the iceburg.

So, I’ve started to look at ways to unknot and re-align myself. Part of my knee issue is from tight hamstrings, calves and most definitely a tight IT band and also unbalanced muscles. Physical therapy tried to balance these muscles  but how can you balance something that isn’t even working properly? No one really has a full-proof treatment for patella femoral syndrome and there are many ways people have tried to rehabilitate themselves with mixed results.

So, over the next few weeks I’m hopeful I can blog about my new experiment to “unknot” and “balance” my body in the hope to not just return to skating but to fix some of those alignment issues I have seen re-occur because I pronate, have flat feet, and have had past injuries.

I decided to start with an exercise I would never have considered before, Bikram Yoga. Crazy? Yes, a little. Considering I’ve never been a yoga fan but heat and yoga appeals to my Floridian native self like other yoga never has. Plus it can be gentle and I need something to loosen these old muscles up.

My first bikram yoga and its results as related to my skating to be covered in my next blog post… Bikram pose below. Hmmm.. It looks like a spiral to me!

Bikram Yoga

Bikram Yoga Pose