Hero pose, overalls and Tim Tams

At sea, my home was a little communications centre. It was tucked away directly behind the bridge and had just enough room for two (preferably small) people. It had a cool design feature in that it was all modularised, like old school Ikea. The idea was if a module broke, it could be slid out and a new one slid straight in. New modules could be shipped all across the globe, to places where specialised technicians couldn't. They stayed in Sydney, building and fixing, shipping and receiving.

For the three years I was on one particular ship the HF mod never worked. I think it had been broken for years and years, its broken-ness handed over to each new crew. HF, or high frequency is the backup frequency and used to send distress signals. It has the power to transmit anywhere, ovaries included.

I used this convenient little 6x4 space to store Tim Tams. I could comfortably stack 6 packets side-ways. I had worked out I could relocate four packets at a time, from the galley to my comcen. One of the small joys in wearing overalls.

Yes, I used to pinch Tim Tams.

Not too soon after I arrived on HMAS Hawkesbury, the crew realised I was a little different. No surprises there. Very quickly I found my quietness and the comcen created the perfect outlet. I had a fairly steady stream of visitors from 5am through to midnight and whilst I sent signals, destroyed crypto, fixed internet issues, hoisted flags and deciphered morse code, people told me their secrets. There were a lot of secrets onboard.

I figured that along with my ears, the least I could do was supply Tim Tams (courtesy of the galley).

In comms school I learnt the ins and outs of HF, the technical aspects, the functionality, the design features. In reality my experience of HF was deliciously different. My version of HF was far from broken and ironically still served its purpose as anĀ invaluable port of call in times of distress. Long stints at sea were all the more difficult when travelling with secrets. There were drug issues, palliative family members, broken marriages, affairs, secret relationships and mental health issues.

The point is that everything has a purpose. Every posture has a purpose. The purpose is what unites us but how we get there, is what differentiates us.

Lately knees, wrists, shoulders and lumbar spines have been getting in the way. Getting in the way of many postures, for many people. Getting in the way of the purpose. Supta Virasana (reclining hero pose) is a perfect example.

B. Tight quads creating a compressive arch in lumbar spine.

The main purpose of this posture is to lengthen the quadriceps. If the quads are short and tight, they will pull on the lumbar spine, tipping it forward which compresses and creates discomfort in the low back (image B).

Variations: Reclining back on a bolster means the recline angle is decreased. Keeping the opposite knee bent with the foot flat on the mat gives greater control over the lumbar spine. Ensuring the pelvis is tilted back means the tailbone tucks under. If the quad is really tight and therefore short, it can lift off the mat so rolling up a towel and wedging it under allows the bent back knee to release.

If your low back is uncomfortable and you stay, you've unintentionally modified the purpose to create discomfort in your low back. If your knees are screaming, your new purpose is to destroy your knees one hero pose at a time. Some people need a block under the bolster, others don't recline at all, while some bring both legs back at once. How we get to the quads is what differentiates us, what connects us is a sensation in the quads.

I didn't feel reckless or unsafe not getting the HF mod replaced. We needed those Tim Tams as much as we needed, in times of distress, to dump the weight of the world. I knew that if HMAS Hawkesbury and its strange, loveable crew got into real trouble, we had the VHF radio, the UHF radio, the LAN, the flags and the lights. If all of those options failed and the only other thing was the HF mod, it probably wouldn't have worked anyway, Tim Tams or not.