Week one of stress fracture consisted of an almost total body shut down. The exhaustion that had been built up set in and no amount of sleep seemed to be enough. My body didn't want physical exercise. It just wanted rest.
Luckily for me, the majority of my classes I teach are Monday's through Wednesday's. I was diagnosed on a Wednesday evening so I was able to teach less and lay low for the first 4 days.
By day 5/6 my busy teaching schedule started up again. I had subbed out some classes but still had a bunch. Plus I started to notice that the general inactivity made me feel sluggish and the surrounding muscles in the immobilized right leg was starting to weaken. I needed to do something; but I also really didn't want to prolonge my injury
Last Tuesday, about 15 minutes before my yoga instructor arrived to teach our ashtanga open yoga lunchtime practice, I started to cry. Self-pity took over. I felt completely unnatural not moving the way I usually do. But my body wasn’t having it. Something I loved to do felt so wrong.
Fortunately moments later Jamie walked in with Scott, the head of the Ashtanga Open Practice at Pure Yoga.
"You should still be practicing," Scott said.
But how? Just bending my right foot hurt much less coming into chatterunga.
“It’s called Yoga Therapy.”
I have heard of it. You probably have heard of it. But what is it?
Instead of defining it, I am going to tell you what it means for me.
For the past three months, pre-injury- I had been practicing ashtanga yoga 5-6 days a week. My body felt strong and as someone who has spent a lifetime with tighter hips and hamstrings, those areas were finally starting to open up.
But there were certain moves- during injury- that I could not do. The jump backs, jump throughs, standing balance poses were not accessible. In the beginning, even a warrior one with my right foot at an angle was too much.
That first Tuesday, Jamie worked with me. As it was the first time I practiced post-injury I was moving very slowly and carefully. We found variations of poses that worked in my current state. As I moved and breathed, I felt energized and started to move quicker. Jamie would remind me not to move too quickly. Once the endorphins of moving kicked in, I started to feel as though I could do more than I probably should.
As I finish writing this piece, I am two weeks post diagnosis. As my foot heals, I have found that certain moves that were not accessible just a week ago are not a problem anymore. However, some moves I did pre-injury are still a little while away. As I continue to recover, it is not time for me to push myself nor advance my practice; it is a time to continue to move in a way that makes sense for my body and to heal.
This is my yoga therapy.