Yoga Teacher Douglas (Vishal) Brook at the Ashtanga Yoga Centre of Melbourne shares his personal experience of practising Ashtanga Yoga with an injury:
Sometimes people stop their practice completely due to injuries. It is easy to get attached to an idea of the perfect text-book practice, and to think if you are unable to do the perfect practice you should not practice at all. I want to encourage people that with approval from their doctor they can often keep their practice going.
I broke my arm and wrist a few years ago. You may think I would have had to stop my yoga – all the arm work with the sun salutes – how can you keep practicing? But I found I could still do a great deal – it was, after all, only one wrist and elbow that were broken, not the whole body.
I was able to improvise variations on sun salutes and asanas to keep up my practice which helped promote healing by keeping my mind, body and soul healthy.
Recently I had an operation and while I needed to rest totally for two weeks, I later proceeded with a slow, careful practice which promoted healing but still protected the vulnerable area.
If you have an injury, you should research with your doctor considerations for correct healing.Try slowing your usual practice down and listen carefully to your body. Pay attention to nursing any injured area as you do the asanas and modify poses to allow injured areas to rest. Pay attention to alignment and back off from any pain. Modify or avoid poses that may risk the injured area. You can gradually begin working the area when it feels ready.
By being mindful you can still find there is a lot that can be done to maintain your practice with one part of your body out of action. It’s about the journey not the destination and even if you are just doing a short modified practice you will feel much better than none at all.