Wednesday, July 11, 2012

When Being a Klutz Becomes Painful

As a yoga, zumba, and boot camp teacher, safety and injury prevention are incredibly prevalent. But what do you do when the injury occurs before you've entered the class?

                                                         From upright: 

To down on the ground: 

In the beginning of May, I severely sprained my ankle while passionately telling my friends a story. Yes, some spirits were involved in the situation. As the elegant klutz that I am, I zealously jumped up and landed in an extremely supinated position on my right ankle. Ouch.

I'm not a huge fan of feet photos, but this one demonstrates how swollen my right foot was compared to my left. 

I knew that I had sprained my ankle immediately when it happened. Of course the lubricants I had ingested with my friends helped distract from my pain. Needless to say, I was devastated that I could not teach yoga for a month. I could barely walk for a week. I was left to follow injury protocol of RICE.


The first week and a half of my twist was depressing. On the severity level of ankle sprains, I was definitely on the high end. Injury and sickness are often a reminder to me about how much I take my body for granted when it functions in a healthy manner. So for the record, thank you body. We should all thank and appreciate our bodies more often.

After my week and a half pity party, a fire of determination grew inside of me. I was not going to let my ankle sprain beat me, no matter how severe. I even started to hear Eye of the Tiger playing in the background of the movie montage of my life. So, I used my injury as a learning experience for myself as a yoga teacher. I worked with many young and elder students who were injured in my classes. It was now my turn to experience my own teachings with my own injury. I couldn't run or elliptical, so I began to modify my yoga practices creating sequences with more supine positions with an emphasis on movements that could strengthen the muscles of my leg and around my ankle. Although I missed many of my favorite standing poses, I had a lot of fun creating these sequences with the limits of my ankle around them. These new structures incited my creative juices for sequences and new movements.

Yoga is amazing because it can help strengthen the muscles around previously injured areas to prevent further damage and help in the rehabilitation process of an injury. I state this fact about yoga related to injuries not only to advertise the benefits of yoga but also to share my experiences of rehabilitation with others. Human bodies are made to move NOT to be static. My body ached for movements that it could not perform during my injury. The result was my creation of new modified movements in my yoga practice which helped nourish and restore my ankle back to health.

I hope this story gives hope to any of you who have injuries. Find your movement therapy. Whether it's yoga, pilates, or any unique form of movement that restores your body. Don't let an injury take over your life. As the saying goes: where there is a will, there is a way. Find your way. Hopefully no one reading this blog is injured, but klutzy moments happen. Be in tune with your body in order to prevent pushing your limits or causing an injury. Watch out for liquids with high alcohol content, they do not help make the wisest choice. Wishing safety, happiness, and health to all elegant klutzy beings :) 

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