how to maintain a yoga practice when seriously injured
by susanne sandberg
I sustained a spinal compression fracture at T12/L1 in an automobile accident on 11/30/09. I am wearing a TLCO brace and was told by P.T. not to forward bend, side bend, or twist. I miss my yoga practice so much! A nurse friend suggested I do Breath of Fire, and I do that, but otherwise there seems to be no other options that I can think of other than Warrior I. Do you have any suggestions?
Yogi Mir's response:
Namaste, Susanne! Sorry to hear about your accident.
Let's make a distinction between yoga and asana.
Yoga is a science of being peacefully present in the moment.
Asana is practice of postures for health and purification.
To do Yoga, i.e. being peacefully present, requires no physical effort or movement. That, you can do now.
Certain practices, like healing visualizations and keeping the mind on the present moment, can be done in any condition.
To do Asana is more challenging for you at the moment. Your body and its condition is very unique. It's difficult to recommend a practice without seeing you in person.
If certain movements cause physical discomfort and pain, avoid them. Instead, try Isometric Contraction to engage the muscles for a few seconds and then release them. You can pulse (engage/release) muscles and imagine that you are sending a wave of energy in that area.
For example, tense the abdominal muscles for a few seconds. And release. Repeat several times. This will begin to strengthen your core.
Next, pull the shoulder blades down the back for a few seconds. And release. Repeat several times. This will begin to strengthen your back and create support.
How about a gentle, modified Bridge Pose (Sethu Bandhasana), gentle leg lifts, gentle half and full Locust Pose (Salabasana) and low Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana)?
Experiment with movement and contraction. The body can and will do miracles.
My warm wishes to you on your healing journey. Namaste,