I am working with some old injuries right now. It sucks. It’s draining. Its lame to be hurt. It sucks to take a few steps back. No one likes it. The thing about being an active person (or especially being someone that uses their body for work), is eventually you will get hurt. It’s just a part of living.
It might be happen when you’re doing something really cool like kiting or dirt biking…..it might happen when you’re doing something stupid like reaching for something. The thing that you think injured you might not be the thing that injured you at all….it might just be the final straw. The straw that broke the camel’s back. How you move your body matters, and a lifetime of movement where we rely on our bad habits does some serious damage.
The injury might not even be the issue, and here is where most of us get hung up. We treat our bodies like we’re designed in separate pieces. “This hurts, fix it” we say to our therapists, instead of looking at our whole bodies intelligent design and frame.
The issue is usually not the issue at all. In yoga people complain about their sore wrists, their hurt hip or their bad back….but there are no bad parts at all….only bad frames. If the frame is off, all the parts are off. We are designed to fit into a frame and when the frame is off, the parts fall apart.
My teacher Abbie Galvin says, “if you want anything you have to do everything.”
Your whole body matters. From your right pinky toe to the top of your head. How you engage your muscles, how you move your frame and how all of your parts interact with each other. We become obsessed with the “parts” but there are no separate parts, only you as a whole and functioning human being.
I used to feel like a bad yoga teacher when I got injured. Like I should feel perfect, have a perfect body and feel 100% all the time. The truth is, I’m learning, just like you. I’m a senior student in injury and rehabilitation. I could use each injury over my lifetime as an excuse to stop, or I could use it as an opportunity to learn more about the body, and man do I know a lot about the body now.
When you hear me give cues in class, take a good listen and get to know your body too. It’s easy to ignore cues and pass the refinement of language off as unnecessary (I get it, I’ve been there too) but these cues really matter. A good teacher has gotten to know their bodies well and knows how to articulate that. A good student has learned to listen well and knows how to embody the material.
Is it hard to pull back from your practice when you have an injury? Sure, it’s not fun. But it’s also an opportunity for you to be smarter and stronger than ever before. It forces you to really listen. To take a good look at what you’re really doing when you’re moving and it makes you get stronger and more functional in your frame as a whole.
It’s like Matthew McConaghy says in his novel Green Lights….You can’t help stepping in dog shit in your lifetime so you can either choose to see it as good luck, or you can figure out a way to do it less often.
An injury is an opportunity to learn and grow if you let it.
With grace and grit,