As I’d mentioned before, I have decided to start shifting my yoga practice. At least two people recently suggested that I should slow down what I am doing, as pushing too quickly through new movements / poses / positions that my body might not be acclimatized to could easily injure it.
While I am proud of the progress I’ve made with my wheel pose, I definitely should be aware of my lower back. My lower lumbar is hypersensitive and even doing leg lifts in fitness classes (i.e. lying on your back while raising and dropping your legs to work your abdominals) is something that causes alarm bells to go off. It’s something that I’ve been aware of for the past decade, since taking fitness classes during my undergraduate degree.
So when I posted the image below, of my progress over the past two weeks, a friend, S., shared an article with me on injury prevention for the lower back. It’s a fairly long read, with several linked articles, and it’ll take me some time to go through it.
But what is most important is realizing that injury is possible and that it can already be happening, even if I am not aware of it. Holding off on any new poses for the next two months might even be the best thing right now (as this morning, I already bit my lip trying to attempt a chinstand).
Having said that, I don’t feel that I having come into all this blindly and stupidly. I’ve already worked on correctly my chaturanga, after realizing I’d been doing it incorrectly for the last 10 years and putting strain on my shoulder. I already hurt myself on my first awful attempt at wheel pose, having not done any research prior, and was thankful that S., another friend that practices yoga, pointed to me a great tutorial by Shannon Elliott that scaffolds the process with yoga blocks (and I made the better choice to use it).
Granted, I still don’t have any professional trainers or gymnasts that could guide, spot or support me. It would be amazing to have access to someone like that up here, but it’s not happening, not when you live on an Aboriginal reserve with a population of 2500.
So the only thing that I can do right now is:
- Put the brakes on new asanas: This won’t be too hard. I think I’ve hit a good wall right now that it’ll become a natural break. I might take a go at a pose or two that I’ve already attempted, but won’t charge forward with any more.
- Carving out a more rounded and balanced approach: This would be the best path right now. Following my DVDs or the Ashtanga Primary Series.
- Developing my core: I’ve not been doing this enough. No more slacking.
- Reading about injury and doing suggested exercises: Reading the blog my friend suggested and also similar sites. Perhaps having a dialogue with the local fitness instructor to see if he is knowledgable and could help on specific poses.
It’ll take me some time to figure out what all this will look like, but this is a good time to take a paradigm shift before any injuries happen.