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Wiggle your big toe

April 26, 2022 Posted by tanner Blog

Can you wiggle your big toe?

Congratulations, because I can’t!

The Cliff Notes version of how I got to not being able to wiggle my big toe began when COVID shut Y2 down in March 2020.  There were no classes and, while I consider myself rather disciplined, I am a yoga snob. I  prefer a real class with real people, a real teacher, and a lot of heat.  After months of not practicing I eventually injured my back lifting weights and doing some not so back friendly things I herniated a disc.  In January 2021 I tried to get back into my practice but my hip and hamstring were angry the whole time. I got 3 shots in my back and waited a year for the disc to magically reabsorb on its’ own. It didn’t.  The little [email protected] gave up on me and wouldn’t go back to where it belonged so I had surgery in July 2021.

You can’t do anything for 6 weeks after surgery and that included practicing yoga. Finally, I could get back on my mat in September 2021.

Then in February of this year I got “Drop Foot”.  Like the name implies my foot basically would drop when I picked it up.  I could point my toes (plantar flex) but I couldn’t pull my toes back towards my shin (dorsiflex).  A second MRI showed that another one of my discs decided to be a lazy son of a b!tch and herniated putting pressure on my nerve. That nerve cut off communication between my spinal cord and the muscles I needed to move my foot.

wiggle your big toes

 Surgery #2 was February 17th.

I was back baby….for 2 weeks… and then my incision got infected.

Turns out that I came back a little too early and a room heated at 105 degrees with humidity reaching 70% is not an ideal environment for a wound that had not quite closed up all the way.  Oops…

No practicing for me again.  Doctor ordered heavy antibiotics to prevent the infection from getting worse, and hopefully to neutralize it.  I was told that over the course of those 2 weeks that if I were to get a fever that I should go to the ER immediately.

I got a fever….

warrior 3

Surgery #3 was March 25th.

I finally got to practice for the first time in almost 3 months this past Monday April, 25th and I have got to say that it is not looking pretty.  Also, I still can’t really move my foot.

Now just to give some perspective I have included some pictures to provide a little bit of a comparison to where I was and where I am today.  Prior to COVID I was flexible as a mofo.   I have been extremely flexible in comparison to most for the last 25 years of my life.  I started martial arts when I was 12 and have been doing full splits ever since.  So yeah, this is all a little traumatizing to say the least.

Now I can’t and my practice looks almost worse than it did when I began practicing 17 years ago.

What is the point of all of this?

Great question!

I decided to use this opportunity to practice what I teach and tell my students:

Keep going.

Keep showing up.

Keep practicing.

Look for the millimeters of improvement because those turn into inches.

And, finally…

Shut Up and Flow.

It took 2 years for my practice to turn into a pile of crap, and it likely may take just as long to get it back.  It’s my fault I didn’t practice after the shut down and that I took my flexibility for granted. You can’t change the past so you might as well accept your circumstances and move on. Since I don’t have anything else going on so I might was well get to work getting it back and that’s what I intend to do.

I am going to give updates every once in a while, as to my progress.  Obviously, my right hamstring is a train wreck and not being able to move my right foot makes balancing nearly impossible.

If you have been injured or you just haven’t practiced in a while and the last time you came in you realized you were tighter than you were before the injury or before your little hiatus, well no shit.

What are you going to do about it?

Part of what the culture of Y2 is using the obstacles to your advantage to make yourself stronger for the next wave of obstacles to come (because there will always be more obstacles).  Learn to let sh!t go and don’t take things so seriously.  Move on and move forward.


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