Injury can be a valuable teacher by Coach Leon
Getting older comes with a lot of baggage! Injuries take longer to heal and are more frequent. Even little dings take more out of us than they used to. Staying fit at this time of our lives is crucial to our overall physical and mental health but also, can present challenges. Fortunately, we are here to help! As a regular practitioner and someone who is aging (I’ll be 64 this summer) and someone who has had a full knee replacement, and some other nagging issues including tendonitis, arthritis, and spinal stenosis, I can truly sympathize with you! Keep in mind you should always consult a physician before beginning a new exercise routine. If you are practicing with us, and we hope you are, the following are some pointers to help you get more out of your class. If you are new to yoga, we strongly recommend our BNB Program (Brand New Beginner) or even taking a Balanced Athlete Fundamentals class. There are times when our balance may be off, or an arthritic joint may be irritating you, blocks, bolsters, and dowels, are excellent ways to modify your practice. There are modifications for all balancing poses. Consider using a dowel for balance during standing forehead to knee (Dandayamana Janushirasana) or single leg hip hinge (Tuladandasana). When practicing standing bow (Dandayamana Dhanurasana), you can use the wall for balance. Your teacher can help you align properly. For eagle pose (Garudasana), stay on two feet and squat deeply. Blocks have become an essential part of my practice. You can use these for support during lunges (Utthita Ashwa Sanchalanasana) by placing your hands on blocks directly below your shoulders. To take pressure off of your knees in poses like hero (Virasana) you can sit on a block or two, or even three in my case. For rabbit pose (Sasangasana), you can place a block between your ankles and your bottom to prevent full flexion of the knees. For supine positions (laying facing up) such as boat pose (Ardha Navasana) try leaving your shoulders down on your mat or the opposite, bend your knees with your feet flat on the mat hip width apart, and lift your head and shoulders. In prone positions (laying face down) there are also modifications you can use. If you struggle with half locust (Ardha Shalabhasana) bring your arms and palms along the outside of your body instead of under your hips before lifting your legs. For bow pose modifications bend your knees 90 degrees, bring your arms into airplane and lift your heart and your knees focusing on core engagement. Whatever your practice level, age, or injury status, you should listen to your body. If a pose causes you pain, release it immediately. There is so much to gain from a consistent yoga practice in your body and in your soul. Try not to let your ego guide you and have a safe and satisfying class.