I had a teacher in Sydney who said that he likes when students injure themselves. From his point of view, injury is a learning experience. It is the wall we hit when we have forced something that our body was not ready to do.
From my own injuries, I understand the learning experience. In most cases, I have learnt my lesson and I’m ready to move on much faster than the recovery process. This is when the frustration kicks in. Not being able to do something we really want to do for so long is very challenging for the mind, at least for my mind.
I was lucky enough to have several injuries to learn from (all related to my Yoga practice). The most challenging for me was a tear in my hamstring. It’s a constant pain in the bum (literally). It’s when you wake you, when you sit down, when you walk and especially when you are doing your Yoga practice. So you read about it and ask other teachers, and modify your practice. You even start using magnesium and Omega-3 and modify the practice a bit more. But you can’t help but feel sorry for yourself every time you sense the pain in the postures. Before you catch the negative thoughts, some manage to sneak in and build up some frustration (“It’s been 3 months now, why isn’t it getting better?”, “My practice is now 3 steps back from where it used to be”…).
I then went to a Yoga therapy course in Byron bay and an amazing teacher (Judy Krupp, see http://www.theyogaroom.com.au) in 5 minutes of looking at me told me what the problem is and what I should do. “Your right leg is 2 cm shorter than your left, this is why you keep injure your right side” she said. “Keep doing asymmetric postures and stay for longer on the shorter side to balance it out”. That’s it, simple and straight forward. Those 2 sentences changed my attitude completely. Instead of being frustrated in the postures, I was actually looking forward to the do them on the injured side so I can breath into it. I could see the muscles getting longer in my mind eye. I could feel with every inhale the leg was getting longer. Within 2 months the pain was not as strong and it was no longer the focus of my practice.
I have become a kid in my practice. Like kids, when you tell them to do something and it doesn’t feel good – they don’t do it! (they say “auch!” and look at you making you feel guilty for telling them to try it). With every injury the connection to the signals from the body are getting stronger. But really – you don’t need to injure yourself to get there. This comes with time. The more we practice, the more we are in tune with the body. The more we feel, the more we are aware of our thoughts and the easier it is to shift the thoughts and make the practice a magical place. A place of deep nourishment. A place of unity. Just like the meaning of the word Yoga. Union of body and mind.
Keep smiling! 🙂