In my last blog post I wrote about why I think Ashtanga Yoga is dangerous. There are a lot of injuries that can happen in the Ashtanga practice from either pushing too hard, carelessness or misinformation. And talking injuries can be a bit of a taboo subject. Students don’t tell the teacher that they are hurt, either because they don’t realize it until later, there is a shame regarding the injury, or my personal pet peeve - they don’t want to make the teacher feel badly.
There seems to be a common misconception in contemporary Ashtanga that injury is an acceptable, expected, or even glorified part of the practice. I think there’s a fairly open dialogue about it these days - the teachers in many workshops and trainings I’ve been to have talked about their goals of having no injuries, and I absolutely believe that we can accomplish a 0% injury rate in Ashtanga. While the system is a physically rigorous one, a holistic practice should be geared toward...
Denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance. These aren’t just the five stages of grief - they’re also the five stages of practicing through a yoga injury. Depending on the injury, it can feel like the same thing sometimes.
If you practice yoga for any length of time, it’s likely that you’ll have an injury sooner or later. Regardless of whether the injury occurred during your asana practice, the recovery period can be frustrating, scary, slow, and a range of other experiences and emotions. Ultimately, though, your practice can support your recovery if you modify appropriately, and the ability to adapt and maintain your practice through challenges and hard times is one of the most important mental disciplines in (and benefits of!) Ashtanga.
The factors underlying injury can be incredibly complex, and they vary from person to person. Ashtanga yoga is not inherently dangerous, but it’s also not 100% safe. It’s a physical activity that...
Here is my modified sun salutation. I always try to incorporate what the PT tells me into my practice. I also like to help my students do the same.
Today, in between poses I did a roll down as the vinyasa because it strengthens my core, builds heat, and I can stay off my wrist. Sometimes you have to be creative!
Maybe overcoming barriers to practice is the practice.