5 Lessons For Yoga After Injury
By Christine Obee
Are you considering getting yourself back into exercise after experiencing an injury?
This post is for you.
I’ve been away for almost a year; away from the practice that was one of the most important, consistent things in my life. A minimum of 2 and as many as 5 times a week, I would put on my spandex and hit the mat.
When I was practicing regularly, I never felt more healthy, more strong, or more confident in my body or who I was as a person. It was the thing that got me excited to get out of bed in the morning. As long as I could get to my yoga mat, I knew I could find the peace and most days, lightness and joy in life no matter what else was happening.
Yoga became my life raft.
But then it happened.
It wasn’t my choice. You see, I almost had a miscarriage – but thankfully, I didn’t. To make sure the pregnancy stuck, I was so restricted in my physical activity that I wasn’t even allowed to lift grocery bags.
My life raft had been ripped out of my hands and it felt like I was drowning. After some time, I was able to get back to some semblance of a practice, but it wasn’t like I wanted it to be. I wasn’t able to push myself to build strength or challenge my mind by testing the limits of my body.
Now that we have a beautiful baby boy, however, I’m able to pick my practice back up.
And so I have. I’m building from the ground up. It’s hard, both physically and mentally, but more than worth it – both for my love of it and what I have learned from my experience.
What I’ve Learned During The Process
I want to share with you some lessons that I learned, which I hope will INSPIRE and MOTIVATE you to get back to your exercise regimen. While getting back into the groove of things can be challenging at first, the payoff is more than worth it. And so are you.
You’ll have so much more appreciation for your body and what it CAN do. Being injured can allow you to realize how you took your body for granted. Being able to move your body is a gift.
With this perspective, notice if you’re able to explore and enjoy your body instead of relentlessly driving towards obtaining better looking abs.
2. Relate To Others
Learning something new can be an ego-breaking, frustrating experience. Good chance you’ll have much more compassion for those just coming to whatever exercise or sport you’re involved in. This lends itself to having a greater level of patience with newbies both as a potential teacher and fellow participant. I can say I’m a better teacher and advocate for the practice of yoga because of this experience.
Although I wouldn’t have acknowledged it, part of me saw going into child’s pose (a resting position) during class as a failure. I would sometimes go there anyways, but there was a degree of shame involved. Was there something you didn’t let yourself do previously when you were working out, something that you saw as a failure?
You may have lost that now. You may have also lost the pride associated with reaching certain fitness goals. This can allow you to realize it’s more about the exercise (or process) itself and what it does for your body.
4. It Comes Back Quick
If you’re like me, you may dread getting back into exercise. You envision the sore muscles, the frustration at not being as physically capable as you used to be, the desire to quit part way through a workout, the forcing of a habit long forgotten…
But, I believe the habit is still very much there. In as little as a couple of weeks it’s likely you’ll feel like you never stopped. Sure you’ll have muscles that are tight and sore, however I suspect you’ll enjoy the process and the feeling you get when you’re done your workout. I also suspect it will feel really good to be physical in your body again, despite the soreness.
5. Awareness Of Limitations
You’ll be more gentle with your body. During your healing process, did you push your body beyond what it could handle (even if it seemed like you were doing NOTHING compared to your previous level of exercise), frequently landing yourself back at square one? If the answer is yes, getting back into things you’ll most likely still push your limits, but within reason, because you know you need to continue to heal and build up slowly. Learning to take care of and honor your body is a beautiful thing indeed.
As you can tell, my journey back to physical health has been about more than getting fit again; it was about learning a greater level of respect, compassion and gratitude for my body and its remarkable abilities.
There are lots of you out there, struggling to get back to your ‘fit’ self; you are not alone. Start small and see if these lessons ring true for you.
What other lessons are there to learn from your personal journey back to physical health? Feel free to share your thoughts with us in the comments below.
Christine is certified as a Lifestyle Design Coach and Yoga Teacher. Having made the transition from a draining, ‘just paying the bill’s’ job to doing work she loves, Christine now helps others in their own transitions. Through personalized coaching programs that combine practical methods with energetic and spiritual concepts, she moves professionals from a place of being disengaged and unfulfilled to finding clarify, hope and purpose.
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