Injury. Yes, it’s very common for those of us who place our egos before our intuition to get injured in any form of physical activity. I was on set for a yoga shoot when my knees inflamed so large they looked like little kernels of freshly popped popcorn. After spending nearly 20 minutes filming a table sequence (aka “hands and knees pose”) my knees filled up with blood from extended pressure and impact to the joint. Needless to say, they decided that would be the end of my yoga journey that day.
I did what my doctor and acupuncturist recommended, RICE – rest, ice, compress, and elevate. After a few weeks off, I began to miss my physical practice. Public classes were not appealing, as I would spend the majority of the time modifying, so I started to roll out my mat at home. Since I needed to elevate my legs to reduce the swelling, I practiced just about any pose that lifted my feet above my head: Viparita Karani (“legs up the wall pose”), Headstand, Shoulder stand, Navasana (“boat pose”), and supported Bridge. I began to feel liberated and empowered by my knowledge of the poses and ability to modify according to what my body needed at that moment.
Now, prior to the injury I had been working on advanced arm balances and inversions but would always collapse into the floor with no avail to levitate my feet off the floor. This injury, while grueling and long, gave me the opportunity to strengthen areas of my body that needed work. I had spent so much time sculpting and stretching my legs that my upper body and core never received an equal level of attention.
By the time the swelling in my knees had come to a stable place, I was pressing to Handstand. And why? Because I saw the injury as an opportunity to embrace a home practice and listen to my body. It’s important to mention that it wasn’t yoga that caused the injury rather a neglect to listen to my body during that particular sequence, which said at some point “you should probably take a break and pad the floor underneath you”.
To this day, I still experience swelling in my knees, but the injury has brought a heightened sense of awareness of my tendency to hyper lock and push past my physical boundaries. We, as teachers, get a lot of questions from students about how a pose should look and how to get into advanced arm balances early on in one’s practice. I encourage you to let go of the physical display of the pose and instead, recognize how the pose feels in your body that day.
Your Home Yoga Practice
Every day is different and while one day your practice might feel effortless and great, the next day you may feel heavy and need to relax. An at-home practice can be really wonderful and enlightening. It gives you the freedom to really tap into your own internal teacher. If you’re just getting started, having a hard time making it to class, or just prefer the space of your own living room to practice – then I hope these videos will help to guide you along in your journey.
In Love & Good Health,