Sinead Wood – The Big ‘I’
How yoga has helped me overcome injuries
There’s no set way to overcome injuries, you really have to work with yourself. But Sinead shares with us ways that yoga has helped her overcome injuries.
Let’s face it, injuries are not fun. They hurt, they limit us, they take time to get better, and they’re extremely sensitive!
The worst thing is that when we are trying to be active, that’s when they hit. The more active you are, it seems it’s more likely to become a possibility. They stop us in our tracks, and just when we’re seeing some good progress!
But as a sufferer of many an injury I have learned they can be an opportunity for development, for better understanding, and a capacity for better management of our own bodies and their seemingly pesky limits!
And I mean many an injury; I’m talking a 15 foot land with my tailbone onto a sheet of ice and the resulting issues, sciatica, SI joint problems, inner thigh muscle tears, dodgy knee, dodgy elbow and torn ligament in my wrist. You name it, I’ve found a way to hurt myself.
Yoga helped me understand my body more and overcome injuries
Yoga has helped me understand my injuries a whole lot more. It used to be frustrating when the injuries come about, or bounce back, because I know that without the injury I’d be able to go further in the pose physically. But then something changed a short while ago which helped me understand and overcome injuries.
I realised that working with an injury in yoga helped me not only to strengthen and repair the muscle, but helped me to really feel inside my body, feel how each pose affected each muscle group, and learn that it doesn’t matter how far I go in these poses, it’s the experience I have whilst in them, whatever it looked like on the outside.
To be a serious yoga practitioner is not to go super far into a pose, to be really bendy, to be superhuman strong and graceful, it’s to hold yourself with understanding, and nurture your own body to feel better. Suddenly, injuries are a whole lot more welcome as they become a tool for practice!
Of course, I don’t mean that I now go around looking for injuries, but when they happen it doesn’t put me off, it gives me a new direction.
This is an opportunity to learn more about and take care of your body
I am no medical expert but here are some coping mechanisms that I use whilst practicing (and teaching) yoga if I have an injury. I hope these help give you a good starting point if you have to overcome injuries:
Tip 1: Have the right mindset
There’s no need to succumb to frustration or disappointment, this is an opportunity to really nurture yourself and learn more about your body during the process of healing.
Tip 2: Seek professional advice
Seek a medical professional, find a great physiotherapist or any other professional that you trust to help you understand the injury further to give it a good chance of getting better.
Tip 3: Have you tried some light stretching? And we mean very light stretching!
Light stretching can really help a soft tissue injury. I’d like to highlight that it must be light stretching, and it must follow the clearance of a medical practitioner or at least feel to you like it’s ready to be stretched. I usually wait between 1 – 2 weeks after the injury before coming back to stretching that area.
Tip 4: Rest up the area that’s in pain, but see other ways that you can keep active
Just because one part of the body is injured and needs some rest, the rest of the body doesn’t need to completely stop. Rest the area that’s in pain, take it easy, don’t do anything that hurts, but see what other movements you can make to keep your body healthy.
Tip 5: When you have the all clear, you can start strengthening the area again
Once your Physiotherapist or Chiropractor or any other professional clears it, it’s a great idea to start strengthening the injured area.
Tip 6: You are what you eat!
The food we eat can contain many nutrients, minerals and lots of good stuff to help our bodies repair, so make sure you eat well 🙂
Tip 7: Don’t go too far too fast
And finally, injuries can be deceptive as they go through the healing process, once it starts to feel better, try not to take it too far in any form of movement as it may just be too far! Take it easy until you know you’re fully healed.
Your body will take exactly as long as it needs to overcome injuries
Don’t rush anything or try to fast track your body to overcome injuries quicker. It’s simply that your body will take exactly as long as it needs to overcome injuries.
Yoga has really helped deepen my understanding of my own body and as a result, helped give me perspective and a particular mindset when I have to overcome injuries.