Choppy Waves

Well hello there!  The 14-month “blog hiatus” is over and I plan to resume the weekly Tuesday stories.  Since it has been such a long time, I’ll start by putting the pieces back together.

In May of last year, I rented  “Casita Peace” for a month long stay in Nosara Costa Rica.  The sleepy surfer community has a penchant for health and a strong yoga vibe.  The main beach, Playa Guiones, has three miles of soft sand and a fantastic surf break.  Just days after arrival,  my routines morphed into enjoying gallo pinto with eggs and daily yoga classes at exquisitely named studios like Bodhi Tree Yoga and The Harmony Hotel.

I spent the previous May in Montezuma Costa Rica and took surfing lessons from Ricardo.  By the end of the trip, I was almost a novice with an ability to occasionally stand up on medium sized waves and ride straight into the shore.  No tricks or turns and a big emphasis on the word novice!  On my fifth day in Nosrara, I rented a board and set out to master surfing.  Without the slightest idea of where to begin, I cruised the beach with board in hand and looked for instructors teaching beginners.  I found my tribe and entered the ocean to ride some waves.

I was able to stand on about one out of four attempts.  After an hour of practice, fatigue set in so I took a water and rest break on the shore.  I almost threw in the towel for the day, but decided to go back for just a bit more.  On my way back out, while walking in chest deep water, two back to back freakish waves caught my board.  I saw stars as the long board crashed into my head with a ridiculous force.  For a split second, I thought this was the end.  No joking, it could have been lights out time.  Happy to be alive, I decided to ride a small wave back to the shore.  When I lifted my arm to paddle, there was a creepy feeling in my left shoulder and my upper arm muscle felt like a noodle.  Something very bad happened and it was likely to change the rest of the month.  I left the accident in the water and emerged wondering how it would alter my path.

Bad thing happen to everyone!  It would have been easy to play the victim card and whine about my injury.  What is the point??  It happened and there is a 100%  certainty that complaints would not aid in the healing process.  The universe often uses her cosmic two-by-four to smack us back onto the correct path.   Two eyes on front of the head are a constant reminder to always look forward!

After a 48-hour love affair with an ice pack, things were not getting better.  A FB friend introduced me to Cy, a local goddess with some mad chiropractic skills.  She came to my casita for some adjustments and an hour of massage.  There was a ray of hope because she was able to manually move my arm without simultaneously making me cry!    A few days later, another friend introduced me to an amazing physical therapist named Isis.  For the remainder of the month, I saw her a few times a week.  I was optimistic that a shoulder tendon was inflamed and normal movement would return with rest and time.

Since rigorous vinyasa yoga was not possible I began practicing restorative yoga.  This new endeavor allowed me to learn more about the meditative aspects of yoga and also put me in touch with an older group of friends that I would never have met in the more active classes.  There is always a blessing!

I came home in June and decided to visit a local shoulder expert to properly diagnose my problem.  I called three places and booked an appointment with the one that could see me the soonest.  The meeting with the physician’s assistant did not go as planned and I was soon in a pinging tube for the MRI.  The nurse said, “You are really lucky to have such a great doctor.”  I replied, “I did not know I had a doctor.   What is the person’s name?”  That is how I met Dr. Chopp.  He told me to wipe out all travel plans for the rest of the year.

Shoulder surgery is not pleasant.  I began the process of recovery with sleepless nights and bi-weekly physical therapy appointments.  Three times a day for over three months, I did my different sets of exercises to improve range of motion.  Progress was so slow.  In September they gave me the OK to do some light resistance work with weights.  This was a big step as I had spent the previous months under the rule of “nothing more than a coffee cup” for weightlifting.

In late October, during a routine follow-up with Dr. Chopp, he said, ‘Kurt, you are doing well.  I may be able to turn you loose on your bike in a few weeks.”  Quite pleased, I asked about Yoga and he said, “Well maybe in early November.”

With a smile I asked, “Would that include going to Rishikesh India for a month long 200-hour yoga/meditation teacher training with my all time favorite Indian yogi?”

That is how I ended up at Swasti Yoga on the banks of Mother Ganga studying yoga with my dear guru Surinder Singh.