Sometimes, despite our best efforts, we get injured on the mat. This might be a simple muscle tension that won’t go away or a more serious injury, but our advice should help you return to yoga and avoid future injury. Alternatively, you might have injured yourself taking part in another sport or in daily life. These tips should help you get back on the mat in such cases.
The first thing you need to do if you get an injury is to rest. Even if you are used to working out every day, you are going to need some time off. This isn’t something to be ashamed of; it just means you are listening to what your body needs. You may need to keep weight off your injury. Take the opportunity to put your feet up, eat some ice cream and relax!
First, seek medical advice. If you are experiencing pain, then you’ll need to check that there isn’t anything seriously wrong. Your doctor will also be able to offer information on how long it might take you to heal or when you might be able to start practicing again. When you think you might be ready to start attending yoga classes again, consult your teacher. They will be able to help you decide if you’re ready and modify poses so that you don’t hurt yourself again. Even if they don’t think you should return to class yet, they may be able to offer some simple stretches that you can do at home to stay flexible.
Keep up your intention
If you feel yourself missing the intention and spirituality of your yoga practice, you can add meditation to your daily routine. There are many guided meditations online or apps that you can use. Alternatively, take Shavasana and give yourself time to enter a calm and relaxed state.
Don’t get back on the mat too soon
Exercise your patience and wait until you are truly ready. Getting back on the mat when you are still injured could make it much worse. If you can, try a low impact activity like swimming instead.
Modify your poses and use props
When there is an easier version of a pose, take this first to ease yourself in. Use blankets and blocks to support yourself and allow yourself to stay strong. These will help you reach the floor more easily in folds and give your spine support if you need it.
Avoid further injury
Make sure you never do a pose that is clearly too hard for you. If something hurts, stop and take a moment of rest. Moving into child’s pose is often a good option if you are unable to maintain a position. If you realize that you are making your injury worse, stop and wait. No one will mind if you do this and it could be the difference between you returning to yoga and being forced to take a long time off.