October 22, 2014

6 Lessons on Healing from an Injured Yogi.

woman yoga child's pose

On the 22nd of May, I broke my arm, and my dreams and plans for the next five months were shattered.

It was just a normal but a fairly windy day, that 22nd of May, and I went to my regular yoga class.

The yoga studio had no roof (who needs a roof in a country where it rains two weeks a year?) and in the middle of our practice a piece of wood came flying from the roof next door and landed on my left upper arm.

The next few days were just a blurry mess of emergency rooms, x-rays, hospitals, surgeries, 4 metal rods in my arm, pain, pain and some more pain.

When I broke my arm, the first thing that hit me (you know, besides that piece of wood) was that I won’t be able to do the yoga teacher training that I had planned on doing in August. My partner and I had planned a travel to Bali, the other side of the world from where we’re from, so he could surf and I could do my teacher training.

But, because of my injury, the training was no longer an option.

The first month in Bali was the worst—there was surfing and yoga everywhere I looked, and being around everyone doing these things reminded me every second that I wasn’t able to do it. Yoga and surfing were all I could see.

But days passed and I saw other beauties of Bali—the culture, the people, the sea, the time off and most importantly, new acquaintances who soon became friends.

After a while there I realised I was finally at the point where my broken arm wasn’t making me angry anymore. For months before that, I would get angry every day, multiple times—when I couldn’t have a normal shower, when I couldn’t tie my shoes, when dressing up seemed almost as much hassle as preparing to go to space.

Now, I’m not sure if it has something to do with the fact that I can actually lift my arm above my head again or the fact that it’s been so long since the accident, but I finally let go of all the anger that came down on me with the tree branch.

I learnt quite a few things from my injury that might help you as well if you ever find yourself in a similar position:

1. Every beginning is hard, and sometimes our mind is a bigger obstacle than our actual injury.

After the injury, all you’ll probably think about is the fact that you’re not able to do the physical aspect of yoga. But we all know yoga is not just the asanas, the postures, so try focusing on the limbs of yoga that you can still do—practice compassion, non-violence, karma yoga and meditation.

You can even still do some postures—it doesn’t have to be a one-armed hand stand, just try some simple stretches and focus on your breath. Just because you can’t do certain postures it doesn’t mean you should stop them altogether.

2. Admitting when we need help is not a bad thing.

There are things that you won’t be able to do, things that you’ll needed help with, but, if your anything like me, you’ll get pissed off when someone offers it. With time, you’ll get used to asking for help and realise everyone is just trying to make things easier for you because they love you and they can see you’re struggling.

By letting others help you, you will become less frustrated by the things you can’t do, which will leave more good energy for you to use on the things you can do. Remember, letting others take care of you is not a sign of weakness, it’s a sign of trust.

3. We can learn to focus on some of the other things we love.

At first, you might feel a bit lost without yoga, but with time you’ll remember your other passions. Try focusing on them again. Love reading? Get loads of book from the library! Love hanging out with your friends? Call them over and enjoy. Do all of the things that you love to do and can do. Do a lot it! It’s nice rediscovering something and getting totally into it—it will help you get your mind of yoga and time will pass faster than you think, and soon you’ll be ready to go to your first yoga class since the accident.

4. Sometimes, we have to be ready to spend the majority of yoga class in child’s pose.

We know a good home practice is essential to our yoga practice, but sometimes it just feels so good to practice with others and feel their vibe. Your first class after the injury is probably going to be far from perfect—you won’t be able to do a lot of the poses you thought you had mastered, and you might have to stay in child’s pose for quite a bit, but it will feel so damn good just to move and to be surrounded by other people practicing and their good energy.

5. There will be that “it” yoga class, and it’s going to be amazing.

I’m talking about the class where things will start to feel “normal” again. It’s going to be the class when you’ll almost feel you’re healing—it will feel amazing and draw a smile on your face that is going to stay with you for the rest of the practice. At maybe the end of the practice, you’ll lay laid down in Savasana and tears will come running down your cheeks—tears of happiness and gratefulness reminding you that no matter what’s happened, you’re still able to do what you love.

6. Be patient!

You’ll slowly be getting back to where you were in your practice, and you’ll get angry and sad in the meantime, but believe me, you’ll get there and it will be amazing! Be patient with yourself, with your body and things that are yet to come, because they will come when they’re supposed to, but not a minute earlier, no matter how hard you try.

As much as my broken arm was a horrible accident and something that totally changed my plans, I learnt lessons that I probably wouldn’t have otherwise, and that the Universe must have a good plan for me—I just have to trust it, practice and enjoy this ride.





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Editor: Emily Bartran

Photo: Anne Wu/Flickr

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