It’s been an interesting few weeks for me. To start, I’ve been struggling with a chest cold for well over a month now and it’s taking its toll. This was not helped by the unusually cold weather my city has been experiencing of late! The combination of sickness and cold temperatures had me feeling, well, pretty bad. I was struggling in my practice a lot- I was still doing everything, but it just felt so. much. harder. There were a few days where I felt like my entire practice was a struggle, and it was also harder to motivate myself to get on the mat.
Fast forward to last week. My practice was starting to feel back on track, and it was also the first time my city has had any real snow in… a long time. At least a couple years. This not only meant that my studio was closed for a day and that it was a lot harder for me to get there anyhow (I’m a cyclist who doesn’t own a car), but also that there were a lot of fun things to do out in the snow! I spent many hours out tobogganing with my nephew, niece, and partner, and went over a lot of jumps that were probably better suited to a child’s body. When I got home, I got straight on my mat and was having a brillianttttt practice until I got to this beauty of a pose:
Bhujapidasana. A pose I adore and do literally every day. Unfortunately, I think the tobogganing had jostled my muscles around a bit and when I lowered down into it, I felt something definitively bad happen. I kept practicing and completed the series, drop backs and all, despite a growing pain under my back left-side ribs. By the time I finished practice, the pain had grown so bad that I couldn’t bend, twist, breathe deeply, or even talk. Ouch. It hurt so bad I almost threw up, and I have a really high pain tolerance. I didn’t sleep much that night thanks to being constantly woken by pain.
Now, I’m no stranger to injury. I herniated a disc in my back a few years ago thanks to overtraining, and I seem to always have a new injury cropping up somewhere. Sadly, it kind of just goes along with the package of being a very active human. But no matter how often I get injured, it never stops annoying the heck out of me. I hate very little more than being held back by physical ailments, and when I woke up in tremendous pain the next morning, I was so scared that this was an injury that would have long term effects, like a cracked rib.
It was bad enough that I went to the doctor (which I hate doing). Turns out it was just a sprained intercostal, which hurts like crazy and would hold me back from doing certain activities for a while, but luckily wouldn’t take too long to clear up if I was careful (2-3 weeks). I took two days completely off, which sucked, and then moved onto doing half primary, and now I’m back to doing full. It still hurts and I’m trying (sort of) to be cautious, but at least I’m able to do everything again!
What was most interesting to me was noticing the effect that practice has on me. On Monday, after taking those two days of and then practicing only half primary for a few days, I felt terrible. More depressed than I’ve been in quite some time, unbelievably fatigued, and just generally ill. Cue practice. That was the first day I did my full practice again, and afterward I felt immediately better. It was as if I had been cleansed, mentally and physically, and could see and breathe clearly again. Obviously I’m still not healed – it’s only been a little over a week since I hurt myself – but with every practice I feel a little better. I guess that’s the silver lining of the injury – it was a good reminder of why I’m committed to the practice and why I keep coming back every single day.