Injury As Practice

By Christina Demetre, LTY trainee/2016

The last few years I have been a die-hard yogi, going to class almost every day. It did not matter that my massage work schedule was all over the place; I always found time to show up. That power hour or 75 minute class was MY time. It is also important to note that a goal I had was to consistently strive to move into "harder" poses. Then one day the unthinkable happened, I became injured with tennis and golf elbow from overworking. I honestly flipped out as I thought I had to not only stay away from work but also from my mat.

For at least a month I stayed away from my usual studio and did nothing on my mat. I saw myself falling into a slight depression and fearful of how my practice would look when I was ever ready to go back. I would stare at my yogi friend's pictures online in envy and jealousy. In mid-December, I discovered Yoga Nidra or sometimes nicknamed "sleep yoga". It helped ease some anxiety although, the fears still creeped in.

January fast approached and soon began the Teacher Training I signed up for (my husband pushed me to finally take the plunge). I was nervous as my arm still was injured. The first day on the mat doing physical poses was difficult, not just for my body but also my emotional and mental state. So many things had to be modified or I just had to sit back in child's pose. I found myself watching my classmate's move with ease and my ego would come in strong. "You can't do this, you're not strong enough" and many other criticisms would enter my mind. It was not until a couple weeks in did I realize what I was doing to myself. I started to question myself as to why I was putting so much pressure on myself and then asking how I was brow-beating myself in other aspects of my life.

So now here we are, almost half way through teacher training, and even though my arm is nowhere near perfect and the frustration still comes - I have more awareness of what is going on and I try a little more each day to approach myself with compassion. This injury is actually a blessing in disguise. By coming from a mindful approach I am able to gain more knowledge on each asana and also put more emphasis on meditation and pranayama. I am learning (slowly) that yoga isn't just physical - there is so much more and there is always somewhere else to go (and grow). So, if you have an injury, still come to your mat. There is a lesson waiting for you.


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