My Yoga and My Injury: Cutting Back Even More

Well, it happened. I injured myself big time in yoga. I’m not quite sure exactly what happened, but I think it happened while I was doing ahandstand during a vinyasa. I was engaging my left oblique too much and I felt it snap/pop or something very unpleasant.

Gray's Anatomy
Gray’s Anatomy Plate 392. Taken from Wikipedia. This shows the external oblique and the latissimus dorsi. For me, the pain is right underneath the bottom rib around where the lats and obliques meet.

The next few days were unpleasant since I was dealing with post-nasal drip cough on top of the rib.

Cough + strained rib = lots of pain.

I went to see a doctor about the pain and she said that regardless of whether it was a strain or a fracture, the recovery process would be the same, although a strain might heal faster.

A week later I was feeling better and decided to play ping-pong at the company birthday party.

Deadly mistake.

I cough. My rib popped even harder this time and I was left curled up in the fetal position since standing/walking and breathing was hard. You take for granted how often your core is engaged in simple activities (like walking, driving over speed bumps, lying in cough potato asana on the couch.)

Following day I spent on the couch in 1 of 2 positions that I could tolerate (slumping or lying on my injured side). Day 3 redux I attempted to walk in the mall at a slow motion pace before retiring to the couch.

A few takeaways I want you get from this:

  1. I know a lot of people complain about being injured doing yoga, but people also get injured doing most sports (running, basketball, soccer), as well as everyday things (walking, climbing stairs, tying your shoes.) I wasn’t doing anything I haven’t done before I got injured. I hope injury doesn’t deter you from trying. Life isn’t fun in a bubble.
  2. Taking it easy can be hard sometimes. I am surrounded by people who love exercise. My housemate tore his meniscus playing basketball and had it surgically repaired with a cadaver meniscus. It took a lot of willpower to keep himself from exercising (although, he did defy doctor’s orders and started early.) My husband sprained his MCL while kicking in soccer. He went back a little earlier than he should have and his knee remained sore and strained. I probably should not have played ping pong. (But, c’mon! It’s ping pong!) Some lessons are learned the hard way, but they will be learned.
  3. Recovery is a lot like starting from scratch (but not really.) It starts with baby steps and knowing that you CAN get to the level where you were before. It’s slow. It requires dedication. It requires breaks, rest and recovery.
[Photo: Visvamitrasana on the shore of Reykjavik mid-March 2015. The sky was so beautiful there. I have been unable to do this pose since I strained my left oblique.]