Practice Safely!

“Listen to your body.”  That phrase should be repeated on my playlists as I overemphasize caution like a broken record in class.  If your shoulders are screaming to cool it with the Chaturangas or your low back has had enough Backbends for the day, it is always best to listen to those signals.  I can't stress that enough.  Ever since my Yoga Tune Up® Teacher Training with Jill Miller (www.yogatuneup.com) I have become hyper aware of safety both in my own practice as well as my students' practice.  Over time no matter what form of exercise you do, injury can be caused if alignment is improper. There are times however, when our bodies don’t give us those signals, warning us about injury.  In turn, we carelessly whip our bodies around in class until one day our aches, pains, and tears just pop up and say HELLO!  Ouch!

I teach a lot of hot power yoga and I am in a constant struggle to keep my classes powerful but safe.  Safe for students as well as for me when demoing postures in class.  As teachers, demoing postures can cause serious damage if we are not warm.  Popping up into a pose when we are cold is death for the joints, muscles, and tendons!  Breaking down asana in a class is an excellent way for students to learn but, protecting yourself as a yoga teacher is equally important.  I have been blessed to have little or no injuries from practicing yoga.  My body has always felt great and at times I feel invincible.  It’s natural to feel that way because our minds don’t grasp what we haven’t experienced yet.  But for me, something had been brewing and I had no idea.  I am very careful when I teach but sometimes I make decisions to demo quickly and later think to myself, “That wasn’t a great idea”.  Jill Miller’s Yoga Tune Up® teachings discuss targeting areas of that body that are overused, underused, or misused.  In my case, I was overusing and over working my elbow without any warning from my body.     

I can’t remember the exact moment when I injured myself but I started to feel as If I had hit my funny bone in my right elbow.  The numbness traveled down my forearm towards the pinky finger.  It seems to be Ulna Nerve Sensitivity (http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=a00069).  I took a break from practicing and thought it was getting better until my shoulder, bicep, elbow, wrist, and all 5 fingers felt a dull pain.  The thought of lowering down into Chaturanga or lifting weights sends shivers down my spine.  I never fully appreciated my healthy body until this moment.  Why is that always the way???  This experience has definitely opened my eyes to safety when practicing and teaching.  It’s so important to take care of our bodies to live a healthy, long, and beautiful life.  Here’s to hoping my elbow gets better quickly! Namaste!