Snap. Click. Or a combination of the two.

You’ve picked out your best athletic gear, woken up early to stretch in front of the mirror, had a good breakfast, and come prepared with notes.

You’re training to be an instructor and you. are. ready.

You jumped into the first activity and asked all the right questions. But a few minutes or hours or days into the training programme, something unexpected happens.

Your hamstring feels like a rock. That noisy ankle suddenly disintegrates into something a lot worse, and you limp. The kink in your neck means you can’t look to the left without a LOT of pain. If it didn’t hurt so much it would be funny.

How Do You Cope?

Yoga Injury

Yoga Injury

Do you power through, and risk putting yourself out for months? Or go and pout in the corner, feeling sorry for yourself, weighed down with an enormous sense of ‘it’s not fair’…?

The answer, of course, is the middle ground, and I’m here to describe how exactly that works and how you can rescue what can seem like a terminal situation.

Whether it’s yoga teacher training, lacrosse refereeing certification or mountaineering guide assessments – any instructional experience that requires physical activity can be stopped horribly short if an injury materialises halfway through.

It’s hard to know what to do. Sometimes really hard!

Mostly because pride is the first thing to get in the way. We all show up to these experiences keen as mustard, and our enthusiasm for the moment can cloud judgment.

Listen to YOUR teachers

I once attended a weightlifting class in which I was the youngest participant, and, on the second of five days, I dislocated my shoulder. The mental pain was almost worse than the physical. The disappointment was heavier than any of the weights.

Luckily for me the instructor wisely talked me out of pushing through the injury.

I abandoned the overhead movements and modified everything to my injury, and by the end of the week I was able to display one of the best-looking squat technique of the group.

So you’re in your yoga teacher training. You’re in pain. Your pride is stung. You’re worried about missing out on making crucial progress.

You know you don’t want to put yourself out for six weeks but you don’t want to go and sit alone in the corner either. What criteria can you use to make an informed decision and move forward safely?

But first, some serious medical points:

IF the joint you’ve injured has significant immediate swelling, or if you cannot put any weight on the injured limb, go to a hospital or outpatient center and get it checked out.

IF you’re in a some amount of pain but are not debilitated from basic movements, carry on. If the pain worsens, then discontinue the movement that causes you pain.

That’s the start.

Next, how do you balance your desire to stay in the picture with caring for your injury?

1. Stay as involved as possible without playing the victim or throwing any dramatic tantrum. People will be impressed with and proud of you for continuing the venture, but don’t make a scene. Understated effort goes a long way.

2. It is useful to train the uninjured limb: multiple studies have shown that training an uninjured limb can instigate muscle growth and increased metabolism in the uninjured side. Take advice from a qualified physio.

3. See an injury as an opportunity! Injuries encourage us to hit the pause button. They can leave you with extended time in which to address weak spots and previously neglected areas of weakness. Make the most of your time and improve yourself no matter what.

4. Every injury is unique. Do what’s best for YOU. Your unpredictable shoulder will not be the same as your friend’s. Do you want to be out of action due to your ego, or make the most of a difficult situation and come out on top?

This is all easier said than done, I know. But at the end of the day, we only get one of these bodies and if you’re involved in teaching something physical, you had better look after it.

Learning how you deal with injury while training will also give you the experience and insight you’ll need when a student of yours feels that same tendon snap, knee crunch or neck spasm.

Being able to empathise, explain, and suggest a workable way forward will mean you’ve successful transferred the lesson your injury taught you into a useful teaching exercise for your students.

Have you powered through an injury when you shouldn’t have? Let us know in the comments section, or feel free to ask any other questions you may have!

About The Author

Jules Barber

Jules Barber is the Founder & Creator of Yoginomics. Having worked in a golden cage in London for 15 years she sold out of her business to become a yoga teacher, corporate wellness specialist and location independent entrepreneur, on a mission to mentor and coach the next generation of amazing yogis - teachers and students alike.

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