How to Practice with Injury

The time comes for most of us when we have to decide whether or not to come to class with an injury. How should you make this decision?

First of all, remember that yoga teachers are not doctors. We cannot diagnose or treat an injury. We can offer up a healing practice in a healing space, and we can make suggestions based on our knowledge of our art.

Hopefully you have a yoga-friendly healthcare provider who will encourage you to resume or begin your yoga practice at the appropriate time.

Remember that you are welcome to be in the yoga room with us even if you pare down your practice. Do what you can. Modify. Ask questions. Use props. Be patient and kind to yourself.

Use this rule of thumb when resuming a yoga practice after injury: Do only half of what you used to do. Come to a gentle class, or perhaps a yin class. Back up a bit before you come back to vinyasa. So much depends, of course, on the nature of your injury.

Listen to your body. Breathe. Slow down. Let your injury teach you.

As a yoga teacher, I have found my own injuries invaluable, unpleasant as they are. From injury I have learned to listen better, to be more accepting, and to have reasonable expectations. I have a better understanding of what doing the poses is like for more people. Injury provides a firsthand anatomy lesson, to boot.