Pune Programme for a broken pelvis

It was during my trip to Pune in 2012 that I was instructed to help at the medical classes that take place every day during the week from 4pm to 6pm. I had the privilege to work with Geetaji, sometimes with Guruji, Abhi and some of the most experienced yoga teachers at the Institute.

I was asked to help a lady with a broken pelvis, it turns out that she is an English Iyengar yoga teacher who lives in Portugal. Her name is Catharine O'Neill.

In the summer of 2005 Catharine fell out of a first floor window in Normandy fracturing her right pelvis and her right elbow. The injuries sustained were life changing. She made a good recovery by obeying the doctors and having some help from physiotherapist and gradually by returning to her beloved yoga by taking one to one yoga sessions with Corinne at the Paris Institute whilst she was still walking on crutches.
Most of her problems were most notably in the area of the hips and groins causing all sorts of problems including in the knees.
As an Iyengar Yoga teacher, Catharine decided to follow her recovery with the teachings of Guruji and Geetaji, so she booked herself for a month in Pune in October 2012 and was accepted into the medical classes.
I am most grateful to Catharine for allowing me to help her with the program that Geetaji carefully planed to help her in her recovery, to Pandu, for allowing me to take pictures and most of all to the patience, wisdom and teaching of the Iyengars and the other teachers at the Institute in Pune.

The following are some of the Asanas selected by Geeta for Catharine's specific medical condition (shown in no specific sequence), some of them accompanied by photographs.

SUPTA  TADASANA 7 belts, sticky mat plus foam brick between legs. 25lbs weight on thighs. Belts alternating, except where injury where both belts are tie from right to left; blanket to support knees; blanket for the head.

SUPTA  PADANGUSTHASA I.  Doubled rope loops in groins/outer hip/thigh; move sacrum away from centre and draw down buttock flesh. Leg straight or in an angle, then from outer hip move ropes to mid thigh - traction. Then move rope to above and below the knee.

SUPTA PADANGUSTHASANA II.  Bent leg to 90 degrees, foot supported on helper's thigh. Rope around the groin and the outer thigh. Helper presses opposite thigh to maintain the pelvis/sacrum level and grounded. (image on left)

SUPTA PAVANMUKTASANA.  Double ropes looped around outer hips/groin.  Helper steps into rope loops and encourages movement of outer hips with the ropes: traction.  Helper applies downward pressure to front shins.  Blanket roll/ pillow in groins. (image on left)

SUPTA URDHVA PRASARITA PADASANA. Buttocks to wall, legs apart, with large belt loop round big toes. (image on left)

PRONE SAVASANA. Legs apart, ankles supported with blanket roll. Roll thighs and move thighs away from the hips.  Blanket support for knees a plus blanket for the head; sacrum moving away from lumbar with sticky mat plus weight. Blanket placed across the lumbar to stop weight from moving towards the lumbar. (image on left)

SUPTA AKUNCHANASANA with bent leg (dog's leg) at 90 degrees to side with active foot; readjust the trunk so it rest evenly on the mat. Draw the thigh away from the hip. Support for knee and foot (bolster) Weight on middle buttock. (image on left)

Sitting on HALASANA BOX (wide square stool) legs wide; feet on two Viparita Karani (or bolsters) in order to be able to press feet down. Pelvic floor lifting; descend the tailbone and extend from inner groins to the knees.

Chair SARVANGASANA Sticky mat folded plus 2/3 blankets; bolster for shoulders; bolster to rest legs with outer feet tied in loose loop to give support to the feet.  Slide down to chair SAVASANA. Bolster for hips + 2nd bolster under calves OR blanket to back of knees. Observe diaphragm.

BHEKHASANA. Right knee bent with large "cheese cake slice" (big wooden wedge) in the back of the knee. Knee and lower quadriceps supported with Pranayama pillow.  Patient holds round ankles of 2nd helper who also, with their hands, encourages the buttock flesh towards the tailbone.

TRIKONASANA at the grill with bolster tied to the grill (to support the right hip). Quarter round for arch of right foot; foam brick to support right calf (right side only) OR at the tressler. Make correct use of bricks quarter rounds etc.

VIRABADHRASANA  II. Helper pressing back thigh back; thumb in right knee; quarter round for front foot; bolster tied at the grille as in Trikonasana.

ARDHA CHANDRASANA. High stool, + 2 bolsters + Pranayama pillow. Helper presses femur head down when the other leg comes up. Leg high engages the work in hip socket better!!!!!

ADHO MUKHA SVANASANA with crossed wall ropes head resting on bolster. From behind, pull up briefly on the rope close to the groins to encourage the lift and opening of the inner groins.

VIRABADHRASANA III. Grill for hands; tressler for foot (toes curled under) abdomen supported on high stool with bolster. If support is too high the standing foot should be on flat foam block,. Helper pressurizes raised leg middle buttock.

PRASARITA PADOTTANASANA. Groins tied back to the grille. Make sure the belts are encouraging backward movement of the inner thigh. Support trunk on high stool with Pranayama pillow. (image on left)


1/2 BADDHA KONASANA. Sitting with back at wall; 2 mats; 2 blankets; 2 6" donuts; 1 soft thin foam block 3".  Sit on folded blanket on sticky mat at wall.  Right knee bent in Baddha Konasana donut in back of knee; foot supported on soft blue block (Baddha Konasana foot NOT Janu!!)  Left leg in Upavistha Konasana; right knee supported on bolster (thigh and calf). Change sides.

1/2 MARICHYASANA I. Right leg in Marichyasana with doubled rope behind knee. Left leg in Upavistha Konasana, donut between right (Marichyasana) top thigh and torso + another behind knee. Marichyasana leg vertical (do not drop) Repeat without the rope for the knee.

MALASANA. Holding wall or ceiling ropes or tressler.