How To Get Back Into Yoga After An Injury
When you experience an injury, it can set you back from activity for a while. Once you are ready to get physical again, keep in mind that you will have to take it slowly and listen to your body. You might be apprehensive to start yoga again after an injury, but here are some hints on how to take the worry out of starting back up with your practice. Yoga can really be beneficial in helping to recover and heal after an injury.
Challenges after an injury
Many of us experience physical and mental challenges during and after an injury, especially when trying to get back into work and hobbies. Depending on the severity of your injury, it can take you out of your entire routine for any length of time.
For healing to happen, your doctor often advises you to rest. Rest causes you to lose endurance, lowers your range of motion, and might cause weight gain. Recovery periods can even lead to muscle atrophy in a matter of days or weeks due to disuse. After a period of rest, your muscles will feel tight and closed off, so give yourself a break when getting back into activities and don’t expect too much too quickly.
Stress and mindset
Injuries and the resulting effects can often cause stress. Experiencing pain, feeling cooped up while resting, worrying about medical bills, and more build on each other and leave you feeling maxed out on stress. For this reason, you might prepare to get back into yoga by de-stressing. The first step of returning to yoga might be letting go of your reason for being absent. Forgive your body for taking you away from what you love and open yourself up mentally for the healing that yoga has to offer. Use the period of rest to meditate and get in the right mindset for yoga and daily life.
Get yourself back in the right mindset with inspiring photos of yoga poses that you hope to attempt or a new outfit for yoga class. After all, this is a new chapter in your practice of yoga. When you are healing and beginning yoga classes again, know that compression braces provide extra support and pain relief, and help you to heal. A compression ankle brace for running, yoga, aerobics, and more serves many purposes and reduces your worries by taking your mind off your injury when getting back into yoga. Look into a specialty ankle brace for women to protect you when you test the waters of your flexibility.
Ask your physician before beginning any new activity to make sure that it won’t increase your pain, and work with your physical therapist to determine what movements are safe for you. Consider starting with breathing exercises and simple stretches at home to test your limits. Listen to your body and pay close attention to how you feel when you step back onto the yoga mat.
Choose supported poses using pillows. Keep in mind that holding a pose for a long time can put too much pressure on a certain part of the body, so try to gently keep moving.
This new beginning is as much a mental exercise as physical since your brain calls your muscles into action. These signals will need to be strengthened again, which takes time. Know what the physical ability requirements are before signing up for a yoga class. Even though you might have some experience, you may need to take it down a bit in the beginning. Inform your instructor that you will need to reduce your efforts to avoid re-injury.
Work with your instructor
An experienced yoga instructor should anticipate that people sometimes experience injuries and can work with you as you re-enter yoga. If possible, contact the instructor in advance to discuss your injury. Consider scheduling a few private lessons to get started or determine the appropriate modifications that work for you during a specific class. Once you determine what class or regimen is best for you to attend regularly, try to stick with it for at least two or three months as you regain strength before advancing.
If you experienced an injury such as tendonitis or bursitis, it likely happened due to repetitive motion. To prevent such injuries in the future, you might need to add variety. You might favor one type of yoga over another, but if you are not alternating between various muscle groups regularly, you open yourself up to injury.
An injury can disrupt your life and cause frustration. It is common to feel like your body has let you down when an injury happens and you have to take time away from physical activity to heal. Remember not to be too hard on yourself, allow yourself to fully recover, and take things slowly when you return to yoga. Following these tips allows you to gradually get back into yoga so that you can enjoy the healing benefits.
Kristin McGee is a celebrity yoga and Pilates instructor in New York City. She is currently teaching yoga with Peloton. She is the star of over 100 videos, seen in several magazines and tv shows and is a spokeswoman for many brands and causes she believes in. A proud mom to three, she sure keeps herself busy!