A little over a week ago I hurt my wrist. I’d been to an intense hot yoga class. I was keeping up, but barely. I had to stop a few times and put my hands on my hips, holding only the leg positions while I got my breath, letting the arms go. It was a fast moving class. Over and over we did sun salutations, hitting the deck, stretching upward, being supported by our wrists. Sweat just poured off my body. It felt good to be wrung out like that.
On the drive home I felt it. My wrist started to throb. By night time it was evident it was not just “exercise” sore, but injured. Pain woke me up several times during the night, making my heart heavy. I’m loving yoga! I do not want to be injured! I don’t want to stop!
The wrists take a lot during yoga. Studying mine, I see that they are small. Very small body parts to be holding up the rest of my weight. I wrapped it in an ace bandage for a couple of days (it felt really good to stabilize it like that) and stayed off it for a week.
So I worked with a yoga teacher this week, to make sure my alignment is just right. She helped a lot. Little tweaks in alignment make all the difference.
She mentioned that in the hot classes, we are fooled into thinking we are warmed up when in fact we aren’t. We might be hot, but our muscles have not gradually warmed, and so the deep parts of them aren’t truly stretched even though we are sweating. It can cause us to push it further than we would have if the room wasn’t heated. Further than we should. This mindset can cause injury.
In addition to working on proper alignment, she gave me some modifications of poses to help protect me, and some exercises targeted toward areas that are problematic for my particular body.
It’s sobering, getting an injury. My nature is to want to dive right in. I have a history of getting injured while exercising. I love to run, but in my enthusiasm I’ve tended to go too far too soon. I always get hurt and have pretty much given up on running.
I want the hard, hot classes, but I have not built up the strength or proper technique to maintain good alignment in them. I thought yoga would be safer, but I’m running into myself again.
So I am pulling back. Working on building from the ground up.
My wrist is much better already. It wasn’t a serious injury. Just enough. Just my loyal body, telling me what I needed to hear. And it applies to all areas of life, not just yoga. Slow down. Take your time. Get your footing.
And that’s the thing about getting older and wiser.
This time, I’m listening.