YOGA WHEN YOU ARE INJURED

Four weeks ago I tried to jump over a horse track in Wimbledon Common to have fun (and show off) and fell hard on the left side of my chest…

I did not go to the GP to have it checked. I am not certain if something happened to my ribs or muscles between the ribs or both! Only thing certain is that there was pain and reduced range of movement. I quickly discovered I couldn’t laugh or cry or sneeze or breathe without pain on the left side of my upper body. I am all into leaning into discomfort but this was just pure pain. There was no energy behind my voice so I couldn’t even scream if I wanted to!  I had to be mindful in all my movements. I walked my dog super-slowly and didn’t carry anything heavy.

For the first few days I took Ibuprofen just to handle the pain. I went for acupuncture sessions 2-3 times a week to get help in sending the right signals to the injured part of my body and allow the body to relax. I decided to trust my body. Also, I realised I could view the incident as something to learn from – it was actually lucky it had happened to me! Here was my chance to trust the intelligence of my body.  I decided I had the “power” to recover really quickly.

I am 98% back to normal now. Below are a few of the things I did or told myself to get better. Funnily enough these are things I say over and over again in my yoga classes or write about in my instagram posts.

1- The body is designed to move

I made sure I moved the area where I had hurt myself. I did tiny movements to allow surfaces within me to slide against each other. I didn’t want anything to get stuck! I thought of a yoga teacher I had some time ago who broke her pelvis several places falling off her horse. The doctors told her not to move and that she would maybe walk after three months. She moved in her hospital bed anyway, just tiny movements no-one could see. She called it “secret yoga”. After six weeks she was up walking again.

2- Everything in the body spirals

I have done a lot of spiralling movements in the past year with the myofascial course I was on. This came by handy! It was painful for me to go from standing up to sitting or lying down, and also the reverse movements. However, moving in a spiralling way to get up or down made it easier. It felt so much more in tune with my body.

3- The body wants to be well

I always say the body is amazing and I told myself this over and over again. There is this amazing intelligence within our bodies and I believe we can heal a lot just by allowing ourselves to trust that the body wants to be well.

4- Moving other parts of the body will help heal the part that is injured

Everything in the body is connected. Instead of giving focus only to the area that was hurting I gave attention to the body as a whole. I did more footwork. I rolled a golf ball under my feet to trigger the fascia. I did arm movements really slowly, visualising how these movements were sending goodness to the left side of my torso through the fascial network.

4- The breath is supporting you

Breath awareness is key. In the past few months in my yoga classes we have been doing diagonal breathing involving placing hands on the ribs. Here is how it goes: place your right hand on your lower right ribs and your left hand on your upper left ribs. Breathe into your hands and feel the ribs moving and your whole rib basket moving. Become aware of the space between your ribs and how it is changing as you are breathing in and out. I did a lot of this breath – it’s the best and feels so caring. It is as if you are feeling your life! Switch position with your hands after several breaths to do the other side lower and upper too.

5- The ground is supporting you

Just as the breath is always here for you so is the ground. It was helpful to lie down on the sofa, bed or my yoga mat and allow my body to settle there, simply breathing and knowing I was safe. It felt caring to my body and also made me feel supported.

6- Zero interest in learning about worse case scenario

I was not interested in getting any information into my mind that would not have a healing effect on me. So zero googling of how badly damaged my body could be! This is a really important point. There is absolutely no need in getting into emotions such as fear, panic or frustration when you want your body to recover. I will admit I was worried for some days about my left lung and heart… My advice is: Help your autonomic nervous system by taking calming breaths instead of indulging into worse case scenario.

Now, a month later, I can do all the yoga I want. I am by the sea at the moment and can swim and laugh at the same time! I can even play tennis.

In case you are injured in any way, I hope some of the suggestions mentioned above will help you. Just remember always that your body is amazing and wants to be well ❤️

Posted in

Annette Wiik

My name is Annette, and I am a Yoga Academy Certified Teacher (BWY-Accredited School). I started practicing Hatha Yoga 20 years ago, and also practiced pilates for several years. Holding a certificate from Bangor University to teach mindfulness-based courses, I incorporate my knowledge of mindfulness meditation in all my yoga classes. I have two teenage children and live in Wimbledon.