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I was wrong about this | Sarah Studebaker, Yoga Instructor & Health Coach

I was wrong about this

Last weekend I did something to my back.  A good friend injured her leg.  My cousin has her foot in a boot (a medical one, not a Doc Marten).

As a yoga teacher, I’ve always thought (and preached to others) that injuries should be rested so that the body can heal.  Stretching into an injured joint is not a good idea and just didn’t make sense to me.

I remember a few years ago at the beginning of class, when I always ask about injuries and requests, A guy said ‘I have a knee injury that I’d like to stretch out.’  That comment baffled me. I’m sure I made a crazy face. I said ‘I’m not a doctor or physical therapist and stretching out your knee injury does not sound like a good idea to me.  I prefer that you rest it and skip anything that puts pressure on it.’

Logically it made sense to ice or heat or maybe just gently move an injury, but not to stretch it or push through it.  Yikes! …and ouch!

As a mom of two young very active boys, I constantly have bruises and sore spots but it’s been awhile since I’ve had a real nagging injury.  I’m still not quite sure what I did but I feel it in my back.  I lifted someone or something that was too heavy for me and I lifted it incorrectly.  I still don’t even know exactly what did it.  It doesn’t matter because it’s done.  My back is now screaming for my attention.

I can still walk and move around just fine so no need for a doc just yet.  At first, I tried icing, then heating, then resting, then massaging, then advil-ing.  Everything but yoga.  I was skipping out on my practice as I thought one should with an injury.

Through all of my efforts and frustrations, I finally ended up back on my mat.  Even though I was moving in new ways and also not moving much at all, it was OK.  This new yoga-for-injuries type of practice was slow and different but still lovely- still quiet (with music) time for me to reconnect to myself, my back, and my breath.

My yoga practice is the essential me-time that can always be altered but should never canceled. Even with an injury, having that quiet time on  my mat (or just the rug) allows me to notice how my injury is feeling from day to day and be aware of any changes and little improvements.  Even if I’m not ‘working’ on my injury, it’s a way to pay attention to it in a way that running through life doesn’t allow.

I’m now realizing that even though we shouldn’t ‘stretch out’ or into an injury, we should still practice no matter what.  Isn’t it always worth it?

Also- thanks to my wonderful and inspiring cousin for this image of her (and my) new motto to get us through these times.  And yes, that’s a sleeping dog with a party hat at the bottom … because… why not?!!

Yoga on, my friend!

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