I’m not the daintiest of girls, but over my years in fitness I’ve had my fair share of sprained ankles, wrists, elbows, knees, pulled neck ligaments, various overworked muscles, cuts and bruises. Every time I am injured, it is so frustrating – I can’t exercise! Or at least not in the way I want. Having to miss out on your favourite classes/workouts/sports because your body can’t do it when your mind is begging you to move just sucks.
A few years ago during a Yoga practice I had a small epiphany, that these injuries have been a small gift in their own way. Every injury I have experienced has opened up education to me as to what caused the injury and how to fix it. In learning modifications from my own injuries, it has really allowed me to understand what it’s like to work through specific joint/muscle pain through movement. Of modifications I have needed to use and to also take care of my injuries rather than pushing through the pain.
We so often take our “able-bodies” for granted, and certainly I do too. I don’t need a well thought out plan of how I’m going to get up and down from the floor, of looking for elevators over just taking the stairs. This is a gift, and our health is truly the biggest asset that we have.
As a teacher, my injuries are both a reminder to slow down but also for how many of my students feel in class as they try to keep up while dealing with pain. Whether the pain of a chronic injury, the discomfort of working through challenging poses or the challenge itself of transitioning up and down from the floor. I am thankful for the compassion my injuries have given me for my students. While aging is also a gift, my body is getting older and takes longer to heal and the same is true for my students.
This is part of the inspiration behind my course – Yoga for Pain Management: Creating a Caring Practice. The other part is watching my mom with rheumatoid and osteo-arthritis navigate her daily pain while trying to keep up with a movement practice. It isn’t easy but continuing to build strength and mobility in a safe way and on days when we aren’t in as much pain will help us have more of those days.
Our bodies were designed to move, no matter what is going on or what injuries we are healing from small and safe movement will benefit us all.