Over the Thanksgiving break, I went with one of my sisters-in-law to a hot yoga class. I did (cool?) yoga classes for several years before my hip misalignment was diagnosed and my PT suggested I stop stretching for a while. But I’d never tried a class in which they heated the room to upwards of 90 degrees. The heat and humidity and sweat everywhere made me forget how long it had been since my last yoga class.
Friday: Hey, I can still do pigeon pose!
Saturday: Pick up my shoes? Just give me a minute. I’ll be fine, I’m just having a little trouble walking here.
Ow, but hey, nothing a few days of inactivity and extra pie wouldn’t fix. The inactivity included watching some of the NHK Trophy events and doing a skating sticker book with my five-year-old niece. It’s amazing how much concentration and dexterity it takes to get those glamorous figure skating dress stickers on target! The book was mostly about figure skating dresses and their accompanying fantasies, but we also enjoyed working on the pages on speed skating and hockey. And I tried to supplement this by talking with Molly about why triple axels in combination count for more points, why it’s important to have tight leg positions in the air, and the difference between a haircutter and a Biellman spin.
So now vacation is over and I’m back to the real rink with my mind and heart focused on my ankles, feet, and the angle of my blade on the ice. I’m still hard at work on building my glute muscles and realigning my hips, but my last few lessons have emphasized these lower extremities so often forgotten inside my boots.
If you look at a picture of a really good skater on deep edges, you’ll notice how much they are really using their ankles and feet to create deep edges. I, on the other hand, am constantly on a flat, especially when I’m on my left side. I think this developed as a form of self-protection. But now that I’m better balanced over my hips, I find that flats are both inefficient and insecure.
Laurie pointed out the other day that I need to distinguish between being on a curve and being on a real edge. My body tends to confuse the two, so I have been blithely going around curves while keeping my blade flat. Or I tend to create edges by pushing my hips or upper body into the circle, rather than just putting my blade down at the proper angle.
So I’ve practicing lots of edges, swing rolls, and chassés with an emphasis on placing down each new foot at the proper angle. That, and trying to (a) get a good, really long, ankle-bone down push from the old foot and (b) push onto an ankle that continues to bend (instead of being locked) has kept me really busy.
I still have some foot and ankle pain on the left side, so I am being a bit tentative with this. But I’m convinced that my tendonosis is related to my foot having to absorb all those chattering semi-flat edges that I’ve been doing up until now.
Strength and flexibility in the ankles is the goal. I’ll have to get one of those devices developed at Brigham Young University so I can check my ankle strength!