Thursday, August 12, 2010

6 reasons why we need our injuries

My wrist is injured. This means I can’t do my normal yoga practice (can't do regular sun salutations or vinyasas, can’t work on jumbpacks, handstands, or backbends). It’s frustrating.

But in many ways, this injury is good for me. Here are 6 reasons why we sometimes need our injuries:
  1. The physical practice does not matter. It's so easy to forget that yoga is not the physical practice. We get attached to the idea of being able to do certain postures, but that is not the point (click here for a perspective on the whole point). It's not about the end goal but about the process.
  2. Healthy humbling. Everything is not within our control. Yes, we can plan for the future and take steps to reach certain goals, but we cannot plan everything. We get injured, accidents happen, and things change.
  3. Work on things that have been neglected. Injury allows us to refocus on parts of the practice we may have been neglecting: the breath, standing poses, upward facing dog (holding for a few slow breaths rather than rushing out of it), shoulder stand (staying in it for a long time). 
  4. Slow down. A daily yoga practice can be intense and our bodies may get over-worked. Injury may be a signal that our bodies need some rest and TLC.
  5. Reflection. Times when we don't feel our best are good opportunities to take a step back and evaluate our overall health and happiness. What habits have I been cultivating? Am I eating well? Am I stressed? Am I sleeping enough? Am I spending my time well? Am I spending enough time with important people in my life?
  6. Reminder that life is not linear. Things go in cycles. There are going to be ups and downs of my yoga practice just as there are ups and downs of everything else in life (jobs, relationships, moods, weather). Everything has an opposite (think about yin and yang).


  1. What you write about is basically my practice for the last 7 months. It can be incredibly frustrating or very enlightening (and sometimes, both). I spend much of the practice modifying postures due to knee and shoulder issues and I think I work just has hard keeping my focus on internal growth through breath, meditation etc.

    It's certainly interesting to step back and shift focus aware from physical practice.

  2. Hey Craig,
    Sorry to hear you're still having knee/shoulder issues, that is frustrating. Maybe this is a good opportunity for us to focus more on a sitting meditation practice together. I wonder if we can get people to do it together at Y2... looking forward to Adam's next week, maybe others will be interested too (I know Rob is)!