physical practice, yoga

Coping with frustration in the practice

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I’m continuing to struggle with my intercostal injury, though I’m managing to maintain my practice through it. Ever since I injured it, I’ve been unable to bind it Supta Kurmasana again, due to a loss of flexibility in my trunk which doesn’t allow me to get my shoulders far enough behind my knees. The injury was improving, but I recently experienced some setbacks and now have to practice a modified form of Kurmasana and Supta Kurmasana because the full expression is just too painful and aggravates the injury too much. On Tuesday, in Bhujapidasana, my muscle popped again and it became difficult to move again, so I’ve realized that until this is healed, I’m going to have to practice a modified version of that pose, as well. I’m really frustrated to be limited by an injury, but what I love about ashtanga is that you can modify the practice so as to be able to continue even while injured.

I’ve been trying to understand this injury a bit better, because the intercostals are a muscle group that people tend not to think about or realize the importance of until they injure it. These are the muscles that connect your ribs, and from what I understand there are three layers to them – innermost, internal, and external. There’s no way for a doctor to know from an exam which layer you’ve injured, so I don’t know exactly what or where my injury is, other than that it’s on the left upper side and starts on my back, looping around to the front. Unless you’ve completely torn the muscle (and sometimes even then), there’s really nothing you can do to heal it aside from rest/avoiding activities that aggravate it. Unfortunately, since these muscles are between your ribs, they affect a huge range of activities – basically anything that stretches or strains them at all. This includes breathing, laughing, lifting your arm, bending, twisting… almost anything. So here’s hoping that through modification of my practice, I’ll be able to fully heal within a couple of weeks!


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