Dealing with Injury

Ganapati, remover of obstacles

Since beginning Ashtanga practice over four years ago, my back has been injured exactly three times. I remember each episode clearly—location, length, effect on practice. By far the most intense and disruptive is the third and current one.  

This time, I have been unable to force my back into an agenda of what will happen and when. 

Next Monday I will do the entire first series.
Every day, forward bends will hurt less.
Because they are the only thing that doesn't hurt, my backbends will improve.

The usual rules of how to behave and to heal do not apply. I have become a space traveler, researching and examining everything about myself, the practice, my body. And if I truly want to know anything, being forced to inquire, is not a bad thing.

What is pain?
What is warning or harmful pain?
How far do I push? How much do I rest?
To what degree is what I do and think affected by ego and conditioning?
And so on
Everyone's answer will be unique, so the applied particulars of my inquiry are not important (and subject to change) but here are a few: sun salutations are a meditation on body in the present moment and help determine the day's practice. Am doing very few forward bends and no counterposes to many backbends. Stretches replace some poses; I use a roller between others. Some days it's running instead of practice; some days it's rest! 

Maybe the most helpful words are—look with an open mind for the questions. This one wins the door-prize:
To what degree is what I do and think affected by ego and conditioning?

May we all be free of suffering!

And this too is yoga.


Gratitude to Greg Nardi for this support, paraphrased: adapt, do what feels right AND your injury will take about three months to heal. Three months?! (Did not believe him then.)

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