A Dose of My Own Medicine for a Frozen Shoulder Injury
Sometimes us teachers can give out some brilliant information about how yoga can heal. But like a prize-winning gardener’s back yard is often a mess, we ain’t always very good at using it on ourselves!
I know, it’s that ole devil called self-worth again.
Often I can feel more validated, approved and worthwhile in the feedback I get from my students and clients than I can from benefitting from my own practice.
But I want to share one focus of my practice which has really brought me incredible results.
After two falls on the Camino de Santiago at the end of 2016, resurrecting an old injury in my right bicep muscle and giving me a new tendonitis in one of my hamstrings, I was at the point of despair, wondering if I’d ever be able to practice a half-decent Downward Dog again!
Whilst in the UK I visited my osteopath who has given me miracles before.
He was very clear.
I needed an ultrasound to determine whether a cortisone injection (gasp, horror) or strong physiotherapy would be needed to basically rip open tissues that were on their way to what appeared to be a frozen shoulder.
This was not good news for a yoga teacher.
As the Universe would have it, I couldn’t get a scan whilst I was in the UK. I didn’t have time to go through the normal referral process, despite still being eligible for NHS treatment.
And I felt intuitively, that the more technical language barrier in getting such a scan done here in Spain was going to be another stumbling block, to moving forward with this injury.
I listened to my intuition very deeply for a while, meditated on it A LOT and found that asana, reiki and massage was going to be the best way forward.
That was 8 weeks ago.
I am VERY excited to tell you that my arm and leg are well on the way to being back to normal. My Down Dog is finally looking like its old self and I intend to be back to normal by the time our retreats start next month.
There were some doubting moments when I wondered if it would ever get better. Even the sun salutation was a painful challenge.
Poses etc that helped my shoulder/arm to heal (in English!):
Breath of Joy
Shoulderstand – initially against the wall, massaging my shoulders to release compensatory tension
Cow Face – with a strap
Fish – initially using a bolster along my spine
Reclining Thunderbolt – Supta Vajrasana – not a full recline initially, but to get a stretch across the pectoral muscles.
Marichyasana – one leg out straight, often called ‘A’
It has been uncomfortable, as well as pushing me out of my comfort zone at times. For years I’ve taught to stay in the comfort zone. That’s still my advice for avoiding injury.
In healing this physical challenge I’ve really appreciated the difference between pain and discomfort.
If you have an injury, new or old, please let me know. I might be able to help or refer you to some great information.
More than ever, I believe that the increased connection, awareness and relaxation that yoga gives, really does help us recover from injury.
What it’s also taught me is the patience and commitment necessary to get profound results naturally.
And isn’t this true of most goals in life?