It is with great esteem I present to you two posts by my (online) yoga instructor Lydia Zamorano on the topic of effort, yin, and her innovative injury prevention philosophy.
Upon doing some background research on Lydia to properly introduce her here I discovered a lot about her rich background. Informing her playful, reverent, nourishing instruction are multiple 200-500 hour teacher trainings with the likes of Richard and Mary Freeman and Angela Farmer. In addition to her impressive personal practice and education as an instructor, Lydia gives back to the community via work with victims of trauma and teaching meditation to children. In her spare time (she has spare time??) Lydia helps Patagonia build the stellar products we all wear and love.
I hope you enjoy this two-part series and are able to indulge in the work of yin this autumn season.
You're a body mover.
Things that are in motion like to stay in motion.
The bursts of joy that you get from rhythmic movement and dynamic stillness are something that you dream of each day until you're doing them.
Then you get injured.
And it hits you like a punch to the guts that you are going to have to be still and sluggish for a while. You might not want to admit that it might be a long healing process.
When I got injured in my twenties, I'd often give less healing time than needed (or maybe less than intelligent healing time) and continued to push through pain with big mountain days. It resulted in one of my ankles having a misalignment that still affects my whole spine.
I have to work with it every day.
Back then I was impatient.
It wasn't until I started a restorative yoga and meditation practice that I was able to learn from injury, slow down, and see it as a process. I was also able to work with some of the deeper reasons for always needing a distraction.
If we can see the upside, when we're injured we can experience longer periods of forced rest. This can heal tiny micro tears in tissue and we can come back feeling stronger and ready to train harder. Rest is a crucial part of strengthening. Rumour has it, that it is when the parasympathetic nervous system is stimulated, we can truly restore and repair.
Not only that, but we can work with patience, listening to our bodies, and learning new things that might not be in our default patterning.
Resting is productive. Even uncomfortably long resting periods can be healing for our bodies. I know some climbers that take a month off a year to heal tissue, deeply rest and explore other parts of their lives.
Here are some ideas for things to do while injured:
- everyone's an artist. Whether it be writing, ceramics, painting, photography... explore learning about your creative self that doesn't include movement. (I think movement is artistry as well).
- start a meditation practice. Start with five minutes a day. The benefits could be far reaching and really support your athletic pursuits. (MN note: I've been enjoying Headspace's meditations)
- if your body allows (like you have one wrist or one leg injury for example) start a home Yin Yoga (yogaanytime.com) or Feldenkrais (lots of great free stuff on youtube) practice. You can usually modify to leave injured parts out. Most of it is staying on the ground. Find creative ways to move that are different and increase mobility and blood flow. If you can gently move the injury without too much pain, practice moving it with micro-movements. This will ease up fascial restrictions that can come from immobility and bring healing fluid pumping into the area.*
- cleanse your body with a fast, colonic, or cleanse. If you're not moving as much, you may have the time, space and energy to do a juice or candida cleanse etc. This could also enhance digestion and clear any fuzziness in your mind.
- learn. There are countless online courses out there. Maybe you have time to dig into something you're really curious or interested about, and that could potentially support your career. (MN note: try Coursera or Duolingo - both free of charge)
- get body work. Craniosacral therapy, massage, acupuncture, physiotherapy ... etc.
Reach out if you like as firstname.lastname@example.org. And be sure to stay tuned for next week's piece on injury prevention.
*Yoga Anytime has a show called "Wait for It" Yin Yoga and meditation practices with Kira Sloane. There are also countless short meditations on there to get you started.
Try the Yoga For Athletes show with me as well and stay in touch about your practice. If you want to connect with me, I can direct you towards practice I think might be the most useful for your life demands and situation.
For a complimentary month on Yoga Anytime, use the code "LYDIA".