Day 28: Practicing While Injured

I woke up this morning to discover that my arm was better and worse at the same time. It was less sore to the touch so that was better. But it was also stiff. Raising it above my head can be done, but I must do it slowly and carefully. There will be no mindless flinging of the right arm. I decided to not go to a doctor since it is somewhat better, and it makes sense that it would be a bit stiff first thing in the morning. Of course, since I have no idea how I came to injure myself or what the injury really is who am I to think any of it makes sense?

I decided to go to class first and see how I felt afterwards.

I tell my instructor I am injured, and that I will do what I can with my arms. Ok. So far so good.

Pranayama starts. I get my arms set up underneath my chin. Then I start to raise them. No good. I can barely lift my right arm. It hurts. I can’t do Pranayama????? Are you kidding me? I want to sit down on the mat and cry. Not because I am in pain. My motion is limited, but the pain itself is not that bad. I am just so upset and frustrated by all this. I can’t get over that I have no idea how I hurt myself, and I have no true understanding of the injury. And now I can’t even lift my arms up alongside my head. And –

Ok. Stop it.

For now, I am in this yoga room. I will lift my arms however high I can lift them. If all I can do is keep my hands locked underneath my chin and breathe in and out then that will have to be my pranayama. Now go. Do it.

I start again. I focus on myself in the mirror. I can lift my arms up a tiny bit. I keep going. I can lift them up parallel to my chin. By second set I can lift them slightly higher than my chin, but not my usual full range of motion. That’s ok.

On to half -moon.

First set. My arms look awful. The rest of me looks good. I cannot lock out my arms. I cannot pull them back by my ears. I do what I can.

First backbend. I cannot lock out my arms. I raise them however high they will go. I tilt my head back. Totally counts.

I keep going.

Now we’re at balancing stick. I can raise my arms above my head and lock my elbows. I go into the posture. I can keep the arms locked, but it is too much to keep them next to my ears. I keep them slightly below my ears. Things are getting better.


Triangle still sucks. In every context of my life, this posture sucks.

First sit up. I contemplate just pushing myself off the floor. No one would question me. Totally justified. Shut-up, I tell myself. Let’s see what I can do. Go slow. I put my arms back above my head. I sit up very slowly. Everyone is already getting into cobra. I don’t care. I’ll be there in a minute.

Bow Pose. The first set is a bit uncomfortable on my arm. That’s ok. I’m not going for depth today. Second set my arm has opened up a bit. Feels better. I kick a little higher.

Half-Tortoise. I can now raise my arms above my head (slowly), lock them out, and go down into the pose in first and second set. I don’t try to get too deep of a stretch. I just go right to the edge of where it starts to hurt and then I stop.

I sit up. I smile. I have a big goofy grin on my face. I am actually healing myself in class. This is so awesome.

Camel kinda hurts. The way I have to turn my arm is not very pleasing. I sit second set out.

By the end, I am almost forgetting I am injured and am doing sit-ups almost normally. I still move slowly, but I am not moving as slowly as I was when we first started them.

I don’t stay to do backbends. I don’t want to do that to my arm. I skip out into the lobby and loudly demonstrate to the instructor (and anyone else in my path) how I can now fully raise my right arm above my head which, a mere 90 minutes before, I could not do.

I come home and get in the shower. I do some more pranayama. My full range of motion is there.

I am by no means 100% well. My arm still hurts. I still have to be careful with it now that I am home. But I did so much more than I thought I could. This experience just shows how many layers there are to a challenge. It’s a lot more than just showing up (that’s part of it of course). You never know when something will happen that will force you to think differently about your practice and really challenge you mentally and physically. It’s all about how we respond to it. I am already curious to see how Day 29 will be and how my arm will feel afterwards.



2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Mark
    May 31, 2012 @ 15:15:41

    One of my instructors always said, “The slower you go, the better you do.” Sounds like you’re taking that to heart. Good work!! Peace.


  2. Trackback: Running to Your Arms. | One Mans Opinion

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