If you avoid yoga because you’re injured or sore or have chronic pain, I’m here to tell you that is why yoga exists. Yoga exists to give you some sense of ease. Yoga doesn’t mean you must complete 6 sun salutations and 14 chaturangas. It is not quantifiable. Yoga is breathing, listening to your body, and movement. That’s it.
In this series of posts, I’ll give you poses and exercises to try if you are injured/experiencing pain in different parts of the body. Please keep in mind, not every pose will work for every body. Listen and learn from your injury. If it works for you, great. If it doesn’t, great. Keep exploring! Only you know what works for you.
This week, we’ll focus on shoulders and arms. A couple of years ago, I dislocated my elbow sledding (I know—I’m super hardcore), and I had to change up my yoga routine a lot. If you are injured in your shoulders or arms, though, guess what? You can still do every standing pose! Woohoo! You can also still do core work. Here are some other poses to explore:
- Instead of downward dog/plank/chaturanga, try cat/cow or hip circles or downward dog on the wall with you in an L-shape facing the wall and your feet on the ground. This allows you to control the amount of weight that goes into your hands. If one arm is injured, do downward dog with one arm. If this is too much, lie on your belly and come up into boat and hold for as long as your class is doing downward dog. Your lower back will get extra love! If you want another option, flip over and do core work!
- Instead of arm balances/handstands, try standing balances like tree, airplane, standing balance twist, standing pigeon, eagle, or bird of paradise without the arms. If that’s too much, try baby cobra on your fingertips (this way, you control how much you use your shoulders—if you don’t use them at all, it just becomes a boat). If you want a challenge in your standing balances, close your eyes.
- Instead of warriors/lunges with arms up, try warrior with shoulder opener. With your side about a foot’s distance away from the wall, take your arm up and back, palm against the wall, and feel for an opening in the shoulder and armpit. If this is too much, just do warrior/lunge with arms resting at your sides.
If anything is painful, stop! Don’t do it! Explore something else. Create a new pose. If nothing works, lie in savasana and breathe. This is the same yoga all the others are doing. All yoga needs to do is bring you ease.
By Fae Leslie Hoffman; All Rights Reserved @2019