There I was….the Sunday sun was perfect and here in Chicago there are many of us that await the fall days with anticipation. Its not that we don’t love summer time even though some would say they loathe winter (actually many would probably say that LOL), but the transition of fall we look our flyest. There’s boots, leathers, super dope sweaters (insert praise hands….I didn’t try to rhyme that just happened) that create an outdoor runway that has you stepping your apparel game up almost weekly. So, the weather was perfect for my thick infinity Akira scarf.
It was looped around my neck, my fav J.Crew blue jean jacket with collar popped (I know…) and my shades… oh and my blue leather Timberland riding boots. Baby girl was fly and clearly I thought I could fly because as I walked down the stairs my soul left my body as I landed on all sides of my right ankle. I sank like Indiana Jones in some quick sand (don’t trip you know that movie too LOL!).
While down there I think I visited every person I ever loved and never had the guts to tell as well…lol. The pain was immediate and the criticism came as hard as the fall. Immediately I was thinking how stupid am I to have missed an entire step….I thought how ridiculously embarrassed I was, and who could ever take me serious in life if I can’t put one foot in front of the other without low key committing some heinous act against my own body. But it was an accident. That dope scarf was my ankles demise, but the scarf did cushion my head from an even worse injury.
While I didn’t cry…yo I really wanted to. I just kept taking deep breaths and I held my new ankle and I told myself “ok….you fell, its ok…you’re ok”. I wiggled my toes…fine, I let go of my ankle and it felt like a dragon had sneezed on it, the swelling came later but at the least I confirmed it wasn’t broken. I was looking forward to my home practice and now it seemed I was going to be laid up popping meds; and that is now cleverly what I am going to call my meditation time…but yeah advil.
So here I am with a new ankle…again and I thought to myself what a great opportunity to get into my body in a different way.
Should I practice yoga during an injury?
Yoga is for all bodies with varying abilities. However make sure you take good care to see a doctor for injuries as there could be lingering issues that progressively get worse. Sometimes yoga IS NOT what is healthiest for our injuries that is why it is so very important for you to not ignore signs such as numbness, swelling, fever, intense pain or wicked sounds that just don’t sit right. If you think to yourself “..hmmm should I go to the doctor?” that’s probably a sign that you should.
Once you are cleared by a doctor or in some cases feeling well enough to practice take it easy, giver yourself a break. Take the chance to access a new part of your practice, possibly introduce yourself to reclined postures if you have toe/foot injuries maybe event seated postures when there are wrist issues.
*GO TO THE DOCTOR SOONER THAN LATER, TAKE IT EASY, LISTEN TO YOUR BODY
What poses are safe for me while I recover?
This is a tricky one to answer because this all depends on your injury and your body. Also it depends on what the doctor or physical therapist recommends. So instead of giving you a list of poses I will offer some internal yoga instead (aka ego checking). First what does “safe” mean? Safe means the poses you are practicing are supporting recovery or at the least are not reducing or impeding on your physical recovery.
Often times we want to emotionally feel better, we want our egos to portray that we are well and strong and capable. Yoga can give us infinite experiences to feel strong but sometimes its a false and fleeting feeling. When injured strength can be defined as self control….or as self awareness or the ability to how to go slow. If you are unsure about working in an injury solo at home….get to a studio with an instructor that has eyes on you.
It is your choice to disclose your injury, yet in my instance of an ankle it would be pretty obvious. At the studio an instructor can support a healing practice and cue you to work in your new able body. But as an instructor y’all don’t listen! LOL…we can’t kick you out of class for showing your asana off, but rest assure our first job is to keep you safe….think about what your first job is….is it to feed your ego?….or is it to fuel your recovery safely.
*GET TO A STUDIO SO AN INSTRUCTOR CAN HELP YOU SAFELY ENTER & EXIT POSES
Stop tripping Mila give us the poses for your ankle sprain!
Alright! LOL so this was my practice the evening of the sprain. The first thing I did was study my injury. I had whats known as a grade 1 ankle sprain which to my understanding is a minor sprain with no tear. There was minimal swelling and just a little pain when I put pressure on my foot. I could walk and it wasn’t killing me. It was a little unstable as I have injured this same foot before but the result was way worse.
This time my foot flexibility was greater and I could feel the difference in the injury. So I wrapped my foot and I didn’t do ice…I had been going back and forth with the application of ice and it wasn’t necessary even after having no choice but to walk on it. The sprain also occurred on the lateral side of my foot. Pointing my foot wasn’t a problem, nor was flexing or turning my foot out laterally or medially. So I was able to get into some of my poses with no problem.
While in the photos the injured foot is always lifted I adapted the variations to make them accessible and comfortable for each side and used the wall for support in balancing poses. which brings me to my final point…. it’s ok to use props anytime but especially when you aren’t feeling well. You may not be injured but you may be tired, use the wall, or blocks. Also if you are seated prop your foot up or place blankets under your injury anything smushy if needed. Be comfortable in your practice and use support to get into and out of possess safely.
Overall what I have learned is that an injury can slow you down and kick star
t you at the same time. It can bring up some icky feelings of insecurity and the injury can feel like a disability. The psychological impacts of injuries can unearth some debilitating emotional responses like depression or other mental health issues that lie beneath the surface. Anxiety, substance abuse or eating disorders can surface due to a different abled body.
Be mindful of natural emotions such as sadness, anger, frustration, lack of motivation, sleep disruption, moodiness, or changes in appetite. These are normal processes and responses to changes in our bodies. Sickness is a doozy on the spirit and yes I believe a well rounded practice engages recovery at both the physical level and the subtle level within our minds and hearts.
Athletes are especially prone to suffering from injuries as their bodies are pushed to the limit. Having a grounded meditation practice can support the mind as the body heals and can keep the heart lifted as well. I couldn’t leave my fam hanging so check out the 10 minute guided meditation for deep relaxation and injury healing.
Yoga is this beautiful practice that can help us just be better….feel better or get better. Consider yoga and meditation for your total body health…physical, mental and spiritual.