Summer sprain? Back spasm? Gone are the days of ice and rest for weeks on end. Mobilization and heat have proven themselves to be the winners. This applies to most muscular injuries; you can check with your healthcare provider. And this is one of the many reasons why I recommend you don't put your yoga on hold while recovering from injury.
Recently I overdid it on the bike and scooter without enough stretching in between rides and suddenly on some meaningless reach, my glutes and lower back muscles started seizing up and spasming. I could barely lay flat on my back without painful spasms. But instead of panicking and retreating to netflix with ice and rest, I turned immediately to my practice..
Ah, YOGA! I'm sorry I neglected you! Deep inhale, long exhale. The pranayama breathing practice of yoga immediately began to slow down the spasms, the pain and the panic. Breath is medicine.
Then I turned to my stretches. This is where if you're unsure of your anatomy it is important to get a physiotherapy or health/sport clinician consultation. A little manual therapy can help to release things too. ( I went to get IMS muscle release the next day) But once you leave that clinic, it's your job to keep moving!
Besides keeping the body limber and strong with the physical poses, yoga teaches us the power of observation, self awareness, stillness, calm, mindset, and breathwork. And It's called a practice because we bring it into our lives every day.
So when we are injured, YOGA, we need you! If we are breathing, doing child's pose, healing affirmations and windshield wipers every day, that is fine. It's still yoga. And it's injury recovery at the same time!
One of the things I get asked is this: what if I have a long list of exercises from the physio, shouldn't I be doing that instead? Well guess what, most of the time those exercises fit nicely into a yoga flow. And one of the things I love to do for clients is create custom yoga practices for injury recovery, helping you to incorporate those exercises. We include breathing for pain control and visualizations for healing.
On that note I can tell you that I've personally used yoga to recover from several concussions, COVID, anxiety, a knee injury, back spasms and more.
I hope the above convinces you not to fold on that membership and support system next time you face an illness and injury. Consult with a professional like myself instead on how you can personalize your yoga practice to help you heal.