There will come a time in your Yoga practice, workouts, trainings where things come to a screeching halt. It's hard to keep things together all the time, sometimes your body just breaks down.
The breakdown can be from stress, emotions, exhaustion, a physical injury or most often a combination of all the above. It is very easy to get stuck in a negative mindset, "I'm not going to get better." During times like this it is important to focus on the positive. The body does not want to stay injured. It is actively trying to heal and this is when you can tap into your inner strength, what I call your inner warrior.
Your inner warrior doesn't need to come from the physical strength like how long you can hold plank, how many push-ups you can do, or working out seven days a week. Your inner warrior comes from the mental aspects of your practice and how you take on the challenges that life presents you. It is what you search for inside and allows you to grow and deepen your practice.
Your inner warrior is how you use your breath, deep core, mind, and whatever you believe in to heal. You have the choice to absorb all the negativity and feel paralyzed, or let it go in an exhale, calming the mind and body. Even without a physical practice you can connect with your core muscles through diaphragmatic breathing and still feel strong. The real work is on the inside.
It is this inner warrior that I keep reaching out to and searching for in my practice. It is amazing what I have been able to discover that I never knew I was capable of before. Although when we think about yoga we tend to think of a sequence of postures, the essence and true strength is in this inner practice. This is what I always come back to.
Last year I was recovering from a lumbar strain which was one of the hardest injuries to rehabilitate. Every day I needed to bend, lift, run the kids to/from school and after-school activities. The days were packed and I was constantly in motion. I had what I call a working injury.
When I first strained my back I thought I had done something really serious. I actually didn't feel my back much but had really weird sensations in my leg, like my shin was being squeezed and my knee twisted. I was aware of my leg more. Normally you don't feel these kinds of things.
It was hard for me being injured as I love to stretch. Working out is a key piece to balancing my stress. I also need my body to be able to work. With this injury my body needed rest, stabilization and time. I transformed my workouts into a lumbar stabilization program, targeting all the tiny muscle groups, strengthened Transverse Abdominus through breathing, worked on postural muscles and daily foam rolling. I actually stopped my physical yoga practice for almost a year. My body started to feel good from all this restorative work. Why up until an injury had I not been keeping up with it? I think we can all relate and ask ourselves that question.
In my healing practice I learned a lot about myself.
- It's ok to take a break. There are times when your body needs to rest.
- You need to pay attention to soreness and pains in your body. This is really important for us busy moms. We often keep going and going taking care of everyone except ourselves. This is important for anyone under a lot of stress as well.
- No matter how strong you are always supplement your program. Everyone can benefit from targeted core exercise. Especially if you are taking classes, your favorite classes may not necessarily be balanced. There is always work to be done on your own.
- There will be set backs and this is part of moving forward. Keep a positive outlook.
- Breathing is powerful and it's something so simple we all can do.
What have you used in your own practice to promote healing? Leave a comment below. I would love to hear from you.