I have a bad wing. My left shoulder has been hurting and I tried to see if it would ‘get better on its own,’ it didn’t. The doctor sent me for an ultrasound, good news no major damage, bad news, tendonitis of the biceps tendon, great news, I can still do yoga.
What happened to my shoulder is a long story. It started with a motor vehicle accident in February of 2006. Those of you who have damaged tendons and ligaments know that once they are broke, they are never the same. The shoulder was doing fine all things considered but over months of carrying my baby in her car seat, its become a bit tenderoni.
I found out about the tendonitis a couple weeks back, just after I had started writing. However I discovered that if I did my yoga with integrity it didn’t get aggravated. At home I have predominately been doing the primary series. Those of you who have done this or other vinyasa yoga know how shoulder involved this style is, how do I do it? Principles of Alignment from Anusara. Shoulder loop, shoulder loop, shoulder loop. By doing all those chatarungas and upward facing dogs with my shoulder blades on my back body, they are no problemo.
This brings up a couple of things that I wanted to point out.
1. Injury is an opportunity for self care and learning in the body. Rather than coming to the mat and muscling through, ignoring sensation or feeling inadaquate because we can’t ‘do’ something, we simply move with integrity and accept what is offered while still putting in effort.
2. My yoga practice changed considerably after my accident, not so much because I was listening to my body but because I felt betrayed by my body, that I couldn’t do the things that I used to be able to and I was pissed. No longer feeling pissed so that’s good, see #1.
2. The more you practice, the less you do. I know lots of yoga teachers that do way less than they used to because the more you practice, the more you learn how to do things in an integrated way and we discover that in fact we have not been as integrated as we could be and thus we do less to receive more. Some will even say you don’t do yoga, yoga does you.
3. You can take old teachings and new teachings and combine them into something that resonates, something you can hear and embody. I love primary series with a sprinkling of flexed feet (especially pinky toe back to outer edge of knee), engaged quads with sweet knees (to protect your hamstrings), and shoulder loop to save those rotator cuffs. You nay say thigh loop and tailbone down, I may say mula bandha but its all the same baby. Different roads, same Oz.