On Injury and Practice


I’m injured right now, which is only fair. I’ve written about injury often enough in an abstract sense, so now it’s my turn to experience the very literal effects that being hurt have on my practice. It’s my turn to learn about injury, equanimity, and compassion.

My practice has been compromised since the end of October. Around that time, I had been catching my ankles with assistance and had just learned Kapotasana. All seemed well, but then I felt low back pain, something that troubles 31 million Americans. Now I’m one of them.

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Ashtanga doesn’t hurt people. People hurt people.

Peace sign

“Oh, I couldn’t do Ashtanga.  It’s too advanced for me.” “Beginners shouldn’t do Ashtanga.  They’re going to get hurt.” “Ashtanga is a painful practice.” I hear statements like these all the time. The practice is not to blame for this phenomenon; it’s competitive practice rooms where the focus is on getting the next pose no matter what.

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