Tag Archives: injury

Dear Yogini

Yesterday a new student came to class.  She mentioned that she has done tons of yoga over the years.  Recently she had taken an advanced class with a studio in town and in her words she “tried to keep up”.  Turns out she re-injured her shoulder.

“I didn’t know yoga could be such hard work,” she said.

Ok… so many things to discuss from our 5 minute interaction.

Here it goes….

Yes Asana practice (yoga postures) can be challenging.  Whoever told you yoga was easy was wrong!  I’m not sure where this type of thinking began, but I will say it’s not easy regardless of the class you are in.

The Sutras speak of holding postures with “Steadiness and ease.”

Ease… not easiness….

Whether we are not being present enough (which really is key to this discussion) or the posture is beyond us – it is work.  And some days will be better than others as we experience the ebb & flow of the practice.

We should never push our bodies further than they are ready to go.  Never ‘try’ to keep up with an advanced class.  We really need to learn to listen to the body.

I say all the time (to the point I’m sure I sound like a skipping CD) “We must be students of our body.”  Just because the Yogi or Yogini beside you can touch the floor in Uttanasana (standing forward bend) doesn’t mean it’s right for you.

Play with the edge of your stretch, your openness and never go deeper than is appropriate for you.

So many of us work with the ego rather than the body.  It’s the whole, “WOW.. LOOK what I CAN do!” analogy.  Later that day or within a few days DOMS (delayed onset muscles soreness) sets in and we wonder what we did.

Cursing the teacher in the back of our minds everytime we bend or twist.  It’s easy to drop into the blame game, “They pushed me too hard!”


In reality you pushed yourself too hard.

You weren’t listening or if you were you weren’t hearing.

Remember to approach every yoga class with a beginner’s mind.  Even if you’ve heard the instructions 40 million times, you need to remember that today is not yesterday.  Just because you could do something on the mat yesterday doesn’t mean you can today (or that it’s right for you today).  Learn to be present.  To engage in the now.

PS.  Oh yeah and…We should always tell the teacher what is going on.  This is key.  Chances are this woman would not have re-injured her shoulder if she had told the teacher of its weakness beforehand.  And if you do hurt yourself in class… again talk to the teacher about it.  I’m sure whomever taught this “advanced” class would not be happy to hear the person got injured.  However, if it does happen talk to the teacher.  Based on their experience and the issue…. remember we aren’t magicians; they should be able to help you on your path to recovery.


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Life truly is all about perspective. 

This is one thing the whiplash has taught me.

I just realized the last time I had this injury, I let it get to me emotionally.  I allowed myself to be taken by it in a sense of victimization.

This time, I’m not playing the victim.

This time (some 20 years later…gawd that truly was a lifetime ago) I understand everything happens for a reason.

It would seem this post has helped me to figure out one reason.

I wonder how many more treasures I will find buried in there?

PS.  It’s great to see so many familiar faces back to class.  I’m so happy to have the opportunity to share time with each of you!

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Filed under healing

Practicing what I preach

On the labour day weekend we were stuck in what the family refers to as the “parking lot”.  This is the area of the 401 by Oshawa.  It is always super busy there, or it would seem to be, whenever we are driving past the area.

While in a traffic jam and thankfully only going about 10 klm/hr we were hit from behind by a Cadillac SUV.  There was no damage to our truck at all as our tailgate thankfully saved us.  I can’t say the same for the Cadillac however, as our hitch went through his front bumper.

The SUV driver said, “Oh sorry, there was so much traffic, I wasn’t paying attention.”

In my mind I was thinking, “Buddy, that is when you should be paying MORE attention.”

As some of you know in 1991 I was hit head on by a truck which resulted in a whiplash injury.  At that time I only toyed with yoga and wasn’t a daily practitioner.  I ended up not moving due to the pain and had to be off work for 8 months.

The current accident (which I do not believe there are any btw…in my mind everything happens for a reason) has brought back some familiar pain.  It’s not as bad as the first time, however my neck is definitlely out and with Captain Crunch (Dr. Dougley) away on holidays this week, I am coping with the discomfort.

I teach many with injuries.  And yes I too have to practice what I preach!

My husband keeps telling me to take it easy and to stop moving my neck.  Unfortunately I know this is what held up my recovery the first time; it hurt too bad to move. 

Even though it hurts it is important we keep moving the joint/muscles etc.,  gently through their natural ranges of motion.  It is the only way healing will occur. 

If you have an injury remember its all about the RICE:

R – rest

I – ice

C – compression

E – elevation

Speaking of which, I’m off to find the ice again after a few simple spinal twists.

PS.  Hope to see you in class soon.  Most of them begin this week.  Also, I’ve not yet sent out the paper copy of Mindful Melody.  I should have time to get it complete and mailed come the end of September (maybe sooner?).  I apologize for the delay.

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