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Practicing yoga with an injury or illness.

This week was a lesson in self-care for me. I was badly affected by an infection in my booster shot site and did not feel up to a physical practice. I tried, early in the week, to push through, modifying my practice, but by Tuesday I was getting definite cues from my body to stop, rest and heal. The experience informed my practice and my teaching.

I often get questions from yogis wondering if they should be practicing while unwell or injured and unfortunately it's not a yes or no answer. When you know that you're not physically up to your usual yoga practice standards but you also know that a practice will help your healing and mental wellness what do you do? What should you do?

It really depends on what the issue is and whether your body feels like practicing. If you're feeling mildly unwell, my suggestion is to take a few moments to check in with your body and ask yourself if some gentle movement and breathing would help or not and go with your choice. If your choice is to practice, keep checking in with yourself during the practice and stop if you start to feel worse. If you choose not to practice, try not to second guess yourself, give yourself the gift of rest, your practice will be there when you come back to it. Of course, I would always advise that, if the issue is ongoing or you feel very unwell, you should speak to your trusted health professional before any sort of activity.

Those unfortunate enough to deal with chronic pain or illness will already be well versed in their body and mind's fluctuating capabilities and cues, however we also can become adept at ignoring or circumventing those cues. In this case we need to be aware of our motivation to practice; is it frustration at our bodies or minds; is it desire for the situation be different; is it a good self-care option. Again, taking time to 'check in' with our bodies can be a great tool. Find a place to rest for a few minutes and start to notice the physical sensations coming up for you in your body. Find the physical sensations of your breath and notice if you are able to breathe without restriction due to pain or discomfort. Ask your body - either literally or just sitting quietly and paying attention - what it needs right now. The answer will be there.

The practice of yoga is more than what happens when we come to our yoga mat. It is the goal of practicing yoga that we learn the skill of listening to our bodies. It is the practice of yoga when we can tune into our bodies and find out what is right for us in that moment.

Maybe we would benefit from a more restorative practice,

or a less physical practice of pranayama (breath work) and meditation,

or maybe a yoga nidra session is what we need.

And if you ever need any help with tailoring your practice to suit your needs please ask me. I'd be so happy to help you 🙏💚

Nina - Plus Yoga

[For our in-person practices, please do the right thing by your fellow yogis and stay at home if you feel unwell, especially if you have any covid19 symptoms 🙏]

Please feel free to like, comment or share this post (with credit to Plus Yoga) ओं शान्ति

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