The sixth week of my 300-Hour Advanced Yoga Teacher Training (AYTT) started without a hitch. By this time, my “normal” has been established since I finally figured out how to manage my time for studying, teaching, spending time with my family, running errands, etc… all while maintaining social distance and wearing my mask outside of my home. I felt great about the pace that I had set for myself and the progress I was making in the AYTT program. I felt that I was taking steps forward… or was I?
I have been dealing with chronic pain in my neck, right shoulder, and right wrist for almost 2 years. I’ve been teaching yoga and fitness classes throughout those 2 years (and for many years prior to that). I injured my right wrist in my 20’s from too many back handsprings. Throughout the years, the pain would flare up, but after taking it easy, the pain would go away in a matter of days. As I got older though, the pain from flareups took longer and longer to subside… until it decided to stay for the long-term in 2018. I tried chiropractics, acupuncture, physical therapy, I even went to an osteopath who recommended that I stay off of it, ice it after activities, and take a high dosage of prescription Naproxen. I temporarily stopped teaching for 2 months so that I can give my wrist a break, but the pain did not go away. So instead of giving up teaching completely, I decided to start wearing a wrist wrap anytime I taught or took yoga classes. I found that this helped a great deal, but I still could not place full weight on it.
During all of the required Yoga practices I was doing, I made sure I modified any poses that were weight-bearing on my right wrist. This really challenged my ego (versus the higher self), but I knew it was good for me. I gave myself permission not to go 100% into all of the poses because I know that my Type A personality wants to push my body to the limit. But during one of the yoga practices last week, I decided to do an arm-balancing pose (Bakasana, also known as Crow pose) only to feel that terrible wrist pain! I don’t know what I was thinking when I attempted to do that pose. Actually, I do know what I was thinking; I was thinking, “My body has gotten even stronger than before in the past month and a half; perhaps my wrist is much better.” WRONG! So here’s the lesson I learned last week:
ONE CAN NOT CREATE BALANCE WITH IMBALANCE.
Meaning, I was trying to attempt an arm-balancing pose with an imbalanced arm. There are obvious imbalances in the muscles of my right arm (starting from the shoulder all the way down to my fingertips). I have a chronic knot in my right shoulder blade and my right forearm gets tight with overuse of my wrist. Arm-balancing poses are less about strength and more about BALANCE. You do need adequate strength in the core and the upper body, but balancing on your hands and arms is mainly about learning balanced weight distribution of the body. I can’t create that kind of balance with an injured wrist, at least not right now. I let my ego get the best of me that day. I spent the next couple of days regretting my action and fighting off feeling sorry for myself; but this is a new week, and I am back to being fully committed to listening to my body and giving myself permission to modify or even completely opt out of poses that will further aggravate my wrist. My search for healing of my wrist continues, but I’m looking forward to letting each yoga practice be healing and not harmful because Ahimsa, non-violence, applies not only toward others but also to my own self.