What has breaking a rib taught me?

So 4 weeks ago today, a freak accident whilst adjusting a student left me with a broken rib. Now me being me, what do I do? “Oh its nothing… but ow its really sore… stop being a baby, suck it up and carry on!” I carried on teaching the class, ignoring my own pain and denying it was ‘that’ bad.

Next morning I wake up and my whole side is black with bruising, I am in severe pain but I just shrug it off, ignore my body telling me to stop and seek medical attention… for 2 weeks. I even attended a training weekend! Admittedly I did have to sit in the corner for most of the second day as I was feeling sick with pain.IMG_3034

It took some convincing to get me to actually check it out and when I did it was a reality check. I am not superwoman, I can’t just carry on regardless. This stubbornness to stop comes from my time dancing where admitting you were injured may jeopardise your position so you just get a load of steroid injections and continue. It is also the reason dancers (especially ballet dancers) end up broken by the time they retire at if your lucky 35ish. I am not condoning this behaviour and something needs to happen in the industry to give dancers more stability and support so they don’t feel pressured into doing this.

Anyway, sorry I got side tracked! The point is my mind went into this way of thinking automatically. Even though I spend every single day telling people to listen to their bodies and not to push themselves, to stop if there I any pain… And this is fine, in my regular practice I am mindful and aware of my body but for some reason when it comes to actual injury I know the theory but when push comes to shove I struggle to implement this for myself.

However anyone who has broken a rib knows that the pain is such that even breathing normally feels like your dying so carrying on ignoring it was not going to be sustainable and I was forced to stop my own practice completely and reduce my teaching schedule significantly.

and what happened?

Nothing, the world has not stopped spinning, no catastrophes have occurred…I am still here and haven’t had any kind of mental breakdown.

You see it was fear that was preventing me from looking after myself. Yoga is the only way I can keep myself relatively sane, it’s what got me from being a revolving door patient in mental health services as a shadow to living a full life and re-finding myself. IMG_0854(ok that sounds cheesy but its true so deal with it. It was my fear that taking away my physical practice and pranayama would send my back to the dark days. That everything would suddenly fall apart. I’m not saying yoga has made my life perfect by any means, every day is still a struggle, but the thought of moving backwards was worse than putting up with excruciating pain.

I learnt that I can just practice my meditation and the different mind set that comes with a yoga practice can carry me through. I can actually do this on my own, it is me doing it, the yoga is helping but its a tool… holding my hand rather than carrying me.

My next worry – how am I going to teach without moving?! How can I still pay my rent?… more on that tomorrow!

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