Saturday, December 06, 2008

A last picture of me crosslegged?

Yesterday I went to the HIHT to check out my knee, which has been giving me a lot of trouble of late. A couple of weeks ago, I took the brisk walk through the hills to Ram Jhula and afterwards my right knee was all swollen for several days. It has been exceedingly difficult to sit crosslegged, which needless to say is a great handicap for me, with all that sitting on the floor you have to do in my profession...

The doctor told me that it was a sign of OA Arthritis. What brought it on, I don't know, but it is not uncommon in men of my age. Basically he said, "It is never going away. Watch out it doesn't get worse. That is about all you can do." And he prescribed some painkillers, which I have no intention of taking.

I have enjoyed pretty good health throughout my life, and I confess that the knee problem has affected me more than it should. I am getting used to the idea now, but I may never sit crosslegged again...


Anonymous said...

Get a Meditation Bench, the wooden kind you put your legs under:

Great photo Jagat!


Anonymous said...

Meditation benches hurt. May I suggest a zafu? Did wonders for me.

advaitadas said...

I feel your pain - literally. I havent been sitting crosslegged for 5 months now, and counting, though it is due to sprain, not to arthritis.

Anonymous said...

They do have these small little hammocks you see the yogis lean into making it easier for them to stand for long hours.

It certainly would add to your mystique up there in the hills..!


Anonymous said...

If Vaishnavas followed varnashrama they wouldnt have these problems.

at age of about 50 when a person becomes vanaprastha the austerities in the forest (read-up vanaprastha guidelines) all the congestion from grihasta life are cleared and ones exixtence is refreshed. then sanyasa for another 25 years

Jagat said...

I was just thinking about vanaprastha in a slightly different context.

dharma = brahmacharya
artha = grihastha
kama = vanaprastha
moksha = sannyasa.

You often hear retirees saying things like, "We are going to take that vacation we always wanted..." Married life means working to make money. Where is the time to enjoy?

You heard it here first.

Otherwise, don't expect any miracles from varnashram. Though you are welcome to implement your own beliefs in your own life. May vanaprastha save you from the bane of OA Arthritis.

BTW, one person who I was advised to consult said that the first step to a cure was to look for the "psychological reasons" for it. My sins are finally catching up with me. Surprised that I don't have smallpox, cholera and beriberi all at once, what with all the apostasy and all.

Anonymous said...

would that not be called a detour?

Anonymous said...

shreyas and preyas

Anonymous said...

I'm sure you know not to eat potatoes and white rice, right?

Also, a hatha yoga "light" daily routine will help. You don't want to do any difficult asanas that may exasperate the problem.

The OA probably flares up in cold weather so stay warm. Don't go barefoot in the winter. Double on heavy socks for entering mandirs.

Jagat said...

I admit that I have been going barefoot most of the time. I stopped rice a while back, but I still like potatoes. Nevertheless, I know that I will have to make some diet adjustments. I have already stopped milk. Someone told me yesterday to stop dahl and beans. What will be left? Chapatis and peanut butter... Cucumbers and papaya.

Anonymous said...

Check out "anti-inflammation diet" [google search].

Certain foods cause the tissues joints what have you to inflame.

White sugar, white flour, white rice, etc all the usual suspects

"Superfoods" [google that also] help reduce inflammation.

I now have a big list of anti-inflammatory foods and try to stick to that.

Also there is a supplement I see alot in the drug stores and health food stores that people take to reduce inflammation. Gluosamine hyphen something.

I can relate also. Had to go to a doctor for lower back pain that would not go away. Took xrays, lo and behold: degenerative disc disease.

Apparently there are these cushions between the vertebrae in your spine. Certain activities can cause the disc between them to squish, dry out, and crack so that eventually bone is rubbing against bone. Yikes!

Dr said, "Is caused by lifting heavy weights, excessive exercise..." I'm all like: I don't do any of those things, thinking to myself.

THEN remembered: Er uh I guess jumping up and down like a pogo stick maniacly in kirtans for decades will do that to you. And lifting heavy weights in all of that selfless seva: lugging around then serving the huge pots of prasadam, carrying around boxes of books to distribute. OMIGOD!!!

Then I thought should have some type of disclaimer in temples that excessive jumping over decades will wear out the shock absorbers in your spine.

Was picturing some little old lady in tennis shoes going around and handing out cards with diagrams to all the young teenaged bhaktas jumping up and down. The same lady who goes around and checks if your bra strap is showing while you dance in ecstasy.

Oh well: I guess this goes along with all the other signs of old age like the pujaris using knee pads to dress the Deities, the swamis using ear plugs because they blew out their eardrums listening to the kirtans, carrying decible monitors with them into the temple room...

I did kind of become bummed at Lord Chaitanya for a few moments and think, "If you are GOD, then why in the world would you encourage people to jump up and down as a form of meditation?"
{okay "dance in ecstasy, go mad", etc.} if that just wears out the shock absorber in your spine?


I also recommend a zabuton for sitting. Good luck with it!

Anonymous said...

I think that is a good point about dharma, artha, kama, and moksha.

In fact I think this is an example of one of the things I gloss over when my mind recites to itself what is "right" and "wrong"
behavior like a parrot.

It did seem like the math was wrong and all squished and compressed together.

In one sampradaya they interpret kama as any kind of enjoyment of beauty, such as appreciating nature, aesthetics, etc. Perhaps like the second house or Venus in an astrological chart.

One guru was saying basically what you have said: vanaprastha is the time of life when people have paid off their mortgages, raised their kids, now they can go on one cruise after another or pilgrimmage, take up a hobby, etc.

But I guess Kali Yuga mess with this "natural progression" also. In some parts of the world, I am reading that people who did everything "right", like go to school, go to college, get a safe civil service job, don't go anywhere or do anything expensive, save all your money not needed to, raise your kids, and were banking on enjoying it all when they retire...

Now seems that alot of those people's retirement funds are now half of what they were a year ago due to the stock market/ Wall Street problems. And some people back to 2005 levels: dentists who had a million dollars socked away now have half a mil, drained away in just a few short years.

Is causing major anxiety and stress, depression, people who were teetotallers start drinking, look like they have aged 100 years in one year.

Is a good argument for enjoying all of the moments of life that we are given while you can, so you can die with no regrets.

I think that was a good observation. Thanks for sharing it.