Practice 5.3.14/An Ahimsa Admonition

Angelina’s Saturday morning class was a blast this week. Fast flow – can’t stop, won’t stop! I don’t remember the sequences as well as I did last week, but it was a pretty well rounded practice. Twists, inversions, arm balances, standing balances, and, of course, some lovely stretchy goodness before savasana. I left covered in sweat, completely relaxed and content. So nice.

Sometime last week, however, I tripped and, in doing so, I angered my left knee. It wasn’t so bad that I couldn’t walk or practice yoga, but it was a nagging, ever-present discomfort. I iced it, took some aleve, and kept on with my life. I figured it would just get better eventually and that there was no need to slow down, but I was so very wrong. Saturday evening; after a day that included a fast flow class, loads of walking, and sitting with bent knees in a theater seat for an hour; my knee decided to go on strike. Its union reps sent word to my brain that such cavalier treatment would no longer be tolerated and that better working conditions must prevail before full activity could resume.

Damn it.

So, I’ve been babying it, doing ye olde rest, ice, compression, elevation routine. It’s working well, as the pain is back where it started. If I had addressed it at that nagging, original point, though, I would have probably been spared the wince-inducing pain that punctuated my weekend. But now I know better.  If it happens again, I’ll behave more gently toward myself right away.

It’s been a good reminder to always practice the most important tenet of yoga: ahimsa – non-injurious behavior, both to others and one’s self.  It’s the yoga sutra version of primum non nocere – first, do no harm. Good words to live by in any language.

With that in mind, I skipped my normal Sunday and Monday yoga, pilates, and TRX classes, which bummed me out. I missed my teachers, the practice, and the endorphins, but I know I mustn’t push myself or be too impatient with my knee.  I’ll probably take it easy for the next few days, too, sticking to leisurely walks and core work to tide me over until I feel ready to flow, balance, and bend deeply again.

Letting my body heal, even though it’s frustrating,  is an important part of being a diligent, dedicated yogi. Being so mindful that any sort of injury becomes rare is the work, the asana, of ahimsa. And it is, for me at least, now a conscious part of my daily practice both on and off my mat.



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