Injuries are inevitable and they happen often. Through day to day activities, through practice (yoga or other) or through divine intervention. I will start by saying that you should always try to stay safe, to understand what you’re doing, to take things slowly and consistently rather than fast and recklessly. But, if you do get injured, like any other obstacle in life, there is room for learning, a lot of room actually.
Understanding your body: Whenever I get injured, I need to understand what exactly happened/is happening to my body. I ask doctors or Chiropractors to explain exactly what that injury entails, where, how, and why as detailed as possible. Through my personal experience, I find that Chiropractors are much better at explaining this than doctors. From this explanation, I learn how to live and deal with my injury until it’s healed. I get to understand exactly what hurts and why, what movements aggravate it and which others alleviate the pain. So, make sure you get to know your body, understand how it works, what happened and why.
Pushing your ego aside: Whether the injury was the result of my ego or the injury injured my ego, I need to put it aside. Years ago, when I first started practicing, I broke my little toe jumping from downward dog to seated. I was so excited that I was able to finally do it, I kept doing it more until I fell on my foot and broke my toe. Ego can be disguised as seemingly innocent excitement sometimes and we need to look out for it. Now a few months back, I was finally able to get into Marichyasana D, I’ve learned to take it slow and not push my body too much, slowly allowing it to get used to the movement. On the other hand, for those of us who are used to moving and staying active, an injury can really upset us, whether or not it’s a result of the ego. It ends up hurting our ego because we’re suddenly feeling incapable. We’re all human and we need to understand that this is only part of the process. We can take this injury as a sign to take it easy, a sign to be better to our bodies, a sign and an opportunity to learn.
Exploring your body: Depending on your injury, you might still be able to move and continue your practice with modifications. Or, you might have to change your routine altogether. Or in extreme cases, rest altogether. If you can move, then explore, and you’d be surprised at how your body adapts and what it has the potential to do. Currently, I have issues with both my wrists, an injury I got from sleeping actually. Talk about divine intervention! And generally, I love sun salutations, Chaturangas (yes, I swear!), handstand practices, Tulasana and so many poses that right now, I can barely do. After learning more about what’s wrong with my wrist tendons, after pushing my ego aside, I’m starting to explore other ways I can still practice and do what I love. I have to modify my sun salutations, I’m experimenting with forearm presses instead of handstands, I’m focusing more on my breath, shifting my practice to hip openers (a weak point for me) and other poses where I don’t have to use my wrists as much. I’m understanding that if anything, it’s truly an opportunity to delve deeper into the practice, to delve deeper into getting to know how your body works, to try and avoid injuries in the future, and to try new things.
I’ll end with this: always stay safe, push fear aside, do it all with love and from a place of purity and curiosity.