Yoga After Injury…
Yoga is popular; one study showed that 24 million people were practicing yoga in the US – roughly the same number of people playing golf. People love doing yoga, and a major injury that prevents you from your regular yoga routine can be taxing emotionally and physically. But as your condition improves, here are some ways to ease back into yoga after injury.
Understand Your Injury
Severe injuries of any kind require medical treatment, starting with a proper diagnosis of your condition.
If your injury is serious, you will likely need x-rays and perhaps an MRI to get a clear diagnosis. A specialist who has earned a bachelor’s degree in radiology will scan your injury with the proper equipment and coordinate with you physician to build a diagnosis.
Be sure to follow your doctor’s orders on how much activity you can handle and when to stage up your yoga routine.
Yoga is a full-body activity, so most injuries will affect your performance levels. Check with your doctor to see if any specific movements will increase your risk of re-injury. There are also yoga routines that cater to people with physical deficiencies or injuries by reducing the stress and strain on specific body parts.
Though these routines may not have the same level of physical demand as your typical routine, they can be a great way to remain engaged while you are in your rehab stage.
Follow the advice of your doctor or instructor, if you have one, but above all, take it slow and don’t push yourself. Yoga is as much about the breath, or asana and the experience, as it is about physical activity. You can still get pleasant benefits from very basic and simple postures while you focus your mind on listening, feeling and healing.
Though yoga can be a great way to build back supporting muscles and act as a type of physical rehabilitation, it’s important to not push yourself too quickly. Once you have had a major injury, it becomes much more likely that you have another one in your life, especially during the rehabilitation period if you rush things.
After an injury, your body will experience muscle atrophy, otherwise known as a loss of muscle mass and strength. Be sure to work your way back in a manner that strengthens these weak muscles without overdoing it.
If you’ve been away from the practice for a while, get used to the idea that your body needs time to adjust, especially if you are no longer as limber and physically acclimated as you were.
In addition to discovering some easy postures that won’t aggravate your injury, you might look for some intermediate or beginner classes that won’t tax you as much, at least until you’re back to your old self.
Be easy on yourself and understand your current physical state. Many people will experience frustration over their current limitations, but don’t let the feeling overcome you.
With discipline and resolve, you will be able to increase your fitness levels and perhaps even exceed where you were at physically before your injury.
Don’t Focus On the Physical
In any period of recuperation, and sometimes permanently following a severe injury, our body just can’t handle as much stress. You may never become as flexible as you once were, at least not for quite some time. But is being flexible the reason you started yoga in the first place? For the vast majority of people, there are other benefits of yoga they value more.
Calmness, mental balance, release of stress and spiritual insight are all good reasons that need not rely on flexibility or specific postures. Focusing on the emotional, psychological and spiritual aspects of yoga can help guide you through a difficult rehab process.
Yoga is really the practice of finding the true self…
Flexibility or sustaining difficult postures are not essential.
There are so many variations that you should be able to find what works for you going forward and getting back into the swing of things with yoga after injury.
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