Live Be Yoga: The Yoga of Injury

Until recently, I had never broken a bone in my body. Last month, for the first time, it happened. This has been extremely tough, but yoga has taught me how to find good in every challenge life throws your way.
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Until recently, I had never broken a bone in my body. Last month, for the first time, it happened. 

I was in a bicycle accident while I was in Portland, Oregon. It was a beautiful summer day, not a car on the residential road I was on, and as I was going downhill, I fell. I broke three fingers, sprained the ligaments in my hand, and got pretty scraped and bruised. Listen to what happened here.

As a daily yoga practitioner, this has been extremely tough and frustrating. Still, one of the best things yoga has taught me is that you can find good in every challenge life throws your way. Here’s what I have learned so far.

1. The importance of patience. 

As hard as it was, I had to accept the fact that this injury is going to take weeks or even months to heal. The pain will lessen as time goes on, and I understand that I will need to modify my practice A LOT. Instead of beating myself up over an accident, I have to acknowledge where I am in this moment. The issue is that I have a hard time not doing something because it's "too challenging," so this is the perfect opportunity for me to practice patience. The reality is that now has become a time for me to learn how to accept my limitations and take a break. It's also time to take care of myself, be gentle and kind, and let my body heal. This attitude of compassion and patience is an attitude I easily have toward others, but less naturally toward myself. 

2. Yoga isn't asana.

Yoga means union--it doesn’t mean Downward-Facing Dog. It’s been a wonderful re-direction of attention, focus, and awareness to have my energy go beyond asana. I am able to focus more on the other facets of yoga; for example, I can meditate for a longer period of time, practice mindfulness, and just allow myself to cultivate more of a connection to my body doing its work to heal. I can also read books and watch philosophy talks online. 

 3. Value your tribe.

Since the day of my injury, I was fortunate enough to have the people I care most about supporting me. It was so sweet not only to see the concern on everyone’s face, but to hear their good-natured laughter once I told them how I got hurt. My students have also been so nurturing, which is what having a loving tribe is all about. 

4. Never take your body for granted.

As I continue to regain a little bit of feeling in my fingers and see my wounds scab over, I have absolutely stopped taking my body for granted. I’m right-handed, so I use my right had a lot without really thinking about it, but now I really feel grateful for every single thing my body is capable of doing. I have full faith that my hand will heal swiftly if I continue to take care of myself, both physically and mentally. I know this is a big lesson in learning new ways of doing asana, too. I will notice how I push myself, and be kind to myself so that I can protect myself. Plus, I get to learn to use my left hand, which is awesome! 

5. Self-care heals.

As a yoga teacher trainer, I know what it takes to care for the injured. I work with students who are missing limbs, or have very little mobility. I am always mindful about providing a well-rounded practice, and showing them how to properly modify depending on their abilities. Being injured myself has taught me how to modify and adapt my teaching to my particular physical limitation. I continue to remind myself that this will take time, just as I tell my students who are recovering. I must practice what I preach, which at times can be quite difficult, and avoid rushing or pressuring myself into doing things that I know will further injure myself. 

What an incredible lesson this has been, and it couldn’t have come at a better time. Thank you for following the Live Be Yoga Tour and to the Yoga Journal team for being the most supportive team ever. I am so grateful for you! Don’t miss our adventures--follow us on Instagram @livebeyoga and @rosieacosta and @brantdwilliams to see where we are headed next!  

Thank you, Made in Nature

A big thank you to Made in Nature for sponsoring our event in Seattle! We had the best time learning about Made in Nature's philosophy and their dedication to providing the best quality organic and tasty snacks. We left with so many Figgy Pops--I don’t know what I’m going to do when we run out! I have a hard time finding organic snacks on the road, so I am so grateful to have snacks made by a company that is so mindful about the product they put out. Thank you so much!