Injury to Insight

IMG_2433I knew it was only a matter of time, like a final destination for fitness. Carrying weights to and from my mat for four years, I was amazed one had never slipped out of my grasp. I worried it was too good to be true, and played out worst case scenarios in my head, figuring if I acknowledged the possibility it couldn’t happen {which I do with many things, and have found as normal as it sounds in your head, these thoughts always get weird and concerned looks}.

That’s why last week at 5:30 a.m. I wasn’t genuinely surprised when a dumbbell slipped out my hand and landed firmly on my pinky toe. What I was surprised by was discovering how much credit that little guy deserves.

I was able to teach my 6:00 a.m. sculpt class, but modified with far less demonstration. I limped around my office barefoot {after a few tears were shed in my commute} and although I’d love to skip the pain in the future, I got much more than a great excuse to work from home out of the experience-

  1. Express gratitude– There is a laundry list of cliche quotes to express this sentiment, so please choose whichever you like, and then recognize how lucky you are for each and every functioning body part. I had no idea my pinky toe contributed so much to my walking and overall fitness game. I also took the time to acknowledge how much worse any injury could have been and the frustration and pain that brings an individual. As I a ask my yoga students to do often, take a deep inhale and exhale, and say I am so lucky.
  2. Walk a mile– Not everyone is fortunate enough to be able-bodied, in good health, or free from chronic pain. Limping through the skyways on my way to work and getting odd looks from polished men and women in suits, I was surprised by my reaction. I wanted to explain to each stranger my situation, all the while realizing I was living just a few days in many people’s lives. No, a bruised toe doesn’t compare; but I think if an experience opens your eyes to those around you in any way, you should soak that in. I don’t think we give these daily warriors enough credit.
  3. Take a moment– Anyone who knows me well can tell you I am rarely an advocate for rest; until I started working full time, I operated under the impression that more than 5 hours of sleep a night was an optional luxury. However, I knew I needed to take time to rest, elevate my foot, and slow down, even if it meant losing my FitBit Weekday Warrior Challenge that week.IMG_2350
  4. Pay attention– bruise or bone injury, never assume something is completely healed. It’s  important to continue being aware of how different movements and factors can impact the injury. For example I haven’t worn ballet flats since due to the pressure on the toe, and I wore cross training shoes in yoga for a few classes to provide extra support.
  5. Modify whenever needed– I have noticed in and out of classes for years that yogis tend to hate modifying. I think there can be a stigma surrounding modifications that you’re not working as hard, rather than recognizing that every body comes with a different story. I started to understand this pressure more, as I once again wanted a chance to explain myself. This is only a problem that comes when we stop focusing on our practice and start having a wandering eye that leads to comparison. A well known yogi once said “you shouldn’t even know the person next to you is wearing,” that’s the level of presence to strive for.

Injuries, accidents, and things out of our control will happen. It’s what we make out of each and every experience that guarantee the health and happiness we can tend to take for granted. Namaste group, please keep your dumbbells in line.

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