So, I pulled my hamstring during a heated yoga class like two months ago. I heard an audible pop and my leg buckled in triangle pose due to an over-stretching injury. It’s actually embarrassing because I teach yoga and I guess I should know how to not hurt myself and because, well, triangle pose. It’s funny, really.
The good things is that the muscle didn’t completely separate. The bad thing is teaching your class Surya Namaskar A and not being able to touch your toes.
Hamstring injuries have a notoriously long recovery time (think 3-6 month minimum), and I’ve been working on it through PT and at-home exercises/gentle stretches.
Anyway, I have learned a lot about my body and about staying positive through my recovery.
(1) Recognize What the Injury Has Taught You
I unfortunately do not have super-human elasticity. I am susceptible to injury and to pushing myself too hard. My injury has taught me my limits and that pushing myself past them isn’t something I need to be doing. Obvious, but no one actually does this until it’s too late.
You get the opportunity to heal, but don’t rush it. Ignoring the injury and jumping right back into your exercises can re-aggravate your injury. Rest and heal the right way. When you’re ready to start being active again, take it slow and listen to your body. Then read bullet point number one.
(3) Eat Well
Injuries can mean exercise is limited or off the table completely. They don’t mean you should eat an entire box of mac and cheese every night because you feel sorry for yourself. Keep fueling your body with nutritious foods to maintain your health.
(4) Learn to Love your Body
You should just do this anyway because you’re probably awesome and way to hard on yourself to begin with.
Injuries make us mad. And frustrated. But love your body for what it does for you, anyway. I like to consider my injury my body’s way of asking me to cut back a little. Practice compassion towards your body during healing and in moving forward by being happy with where you are today and making adjustments in the future.
(5) Remember Your Yoga
Your physical practice is only a small portion of the actual practice of yoga. Remember the rest of it while in recovery, such as staying mindful and practicing your yamas/niyamas, especially Ahimsa (kindness) and Satya (honesty) towards yourself and your body.