BYC Teacher Briar and her recent journey through injury:

Briar – Every Cloud has a Silver Lining:

bikram-yoga_17-8-2012_150I’ve long been aware of the wonders of Bikram yoga for helping with injuries and have heard many many stories of how fantastic it is, for many different conditions and injuries. However, I’d never experienced any of them myself. Lucky me, you must think!  But, as a teacher, it’s always more believable  and authentic to be able to preach the benefits, evangelical style. Hallelujah!
So, lucky me, I got just that opportunity over the summer. I managed to tear my calf muscle in a pretty spectacular way, doing the most basic of movements in a Zumba class. So basic was the movement, that I actually thought Peggy-Rose had kicked me. But no. So, after a few days not walking at all and then on crutches, I was (bear with me here, admittedly this is a little strange) actually looking forward to getting back in the studio and seeing how good this yoga actually was. I hobbled into the studio, being able to put weight on my big toe and nothing else. A few of you looked at me as if I was totally nuts, as I set myself up at the back of the room. And I admit, the thought had, albeit fleetingly, crossed my mind. Through my hobbling around, I had put too much weight through my calf a couple of times and it was excruciating.
So the dialogue for breathing says: ‘feet together nicely, toes and heels touching each other’. Well, I couldn’t do that, so I started with the only way I could get my heel on the floor, which was my injured leg stretched out in front of me. Like I was on a tightrope. It was the hardest breathing I’d ever done as my body was already twisted from the crutches and hobbling about. Half moon was the same and backward bending also. Just exploring what my body would let me do, without any ‘sharp shooting pain’ and some faith there would be some improvement. My feet were six inches in awkward but my postures were nowhere near what they were. Well, namaste to that! Things come and go, and me lamenting what I’d been able to do a week previously was completely fruitless.
So the standing series continued with me doing whatever form of the posture I was able. My aim was to gradually put more weight on the whole of my foot, thereby increasing the blood flow. In standing head to knee on the injured leg, there was no grabbing of my foot or a locked knee. All I could do was start in my tightrope position and gradually shift more weight to the foot, with the aim of the very first instruction, ‘feet together nicely’. I could lock my knee with the other leg and get the grip and kick, but my kicking leg was nowhere near being locked. It felt great, though, to just gently stretch it! The same pattern followed for Standing Bow – a little more weight each time. By the end of Balancing Stick, I was pretty ecstatic. Through the wonders of Bikram yoga (I say, hallelujah!), I was able to bring my feet together nicely, toes and heels touching. I was pretty dumbfounded! I grinned like a total loon at Fed and showed him my feet and I could see he was pleased too.
So I continued to keep up my practice. I absolutely needed it to recover. I awoke each morning feeling tighter (as you’d expect), but felt wonderful after each class. There were noticeable improvements after every class I did. My recovery was, without a doubt, expedited by it. That increased blood flow and the sequence of postures was absolutely what my body needed. The series also teaches you patience, which I was so very grateful for too.
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