Injuries are just a side effect of life, unfortunately. I get lots of students coming to class who are dealing with an injury. And unfortunately a lot of injuries happen in the yoga world where they really could be avoided. For me, yoga is healing. Yes, it’s strength, and it’s endurance, and it’s pushing your limits sometimes. But ultimately it’s about healing. So when I blew out my low back for the first time in my life a couple weeks ago (just for the record, it was not a yoga injury), I turned to my practice for help, and decided that instead of fighting it I should really be making the most of an injury.
Honestly I’ve never been able to really truly relate to low back injuries or sensitivities because I’ve never experienced it. Yeah, I know, #PityPartyOfOne, call the Wah-mbulance. Until recently. I’m still unsure what caused it – probably a combination of sitting in a crummy desk chair all day and starting a new cardio workout routine trying to keep up with the fast-paced ab workout – yikes! Frankly, the cause doesn’t really matter, its the reaction. So I spent a day whining about the pain, and icing, and then I had an epiphany – this could be a blessing!
Yeah, I know that sounds crazy, but it’s so true. If nothing else my yoga journey has taught me that we are the only ones who control our lives. No other person, place, or scenario can have power over us unless we give it power. So I decided to embrace my new injury and pay very close attention to how it affected me. I paid close attention. I watched all the things that triggered the pain, and watched the things that made it better. I decided that this injury was the perfect opportunity for me to learn what many of my students suffer from first hand.
I started to understand more personally how painful upward facing dog can be when the low back is fired up. I learned how amazing child’s pose feels. I felt first hand how keeping the knees bent in savasana really is soothing to the low back. I mean, I learned this stuff in teacher training, technically. But I had never had the opportunity to feel it in my own body.
Luckily the pain only lasted a couple days, and I’m back to normal. But I have a whole new perspective. Corny as it sounds I’m grateful to have had the experience. Of course I’m grateful to be well again too.