Robert Steven Williams’ injury in yoga class left him with a painful thigh and more than a little trepidation.
Last week in a yoga class I fell backwards off of a block attempting to do the posture “Crow.” I only fell four inches, but in that time my right leg collapsed on itself and twisted in such a way that it ripped tissue in my thigh. The pain was instant and powerful. I don’t know what was more shocking, the fact that it happened or that the pain was so intense.
I knew I was in trouble and my first thought was: get ice. I hobbled out of class, leaving my mat, water, wallet and keys. While I waited for the woman at the desk to get the ice, I broke out into a cold sweat.
Through the spasms of pain I was thinking about how I’d pay for this. My health insurance comes with an exorbitant deductible. Then I wondered how much damage I’d really done. How long would I be out for?
The ice finally came, and I sat for a half-hour really working the thigh. I could barely walk. There was no lifting of the leg forward or backward. I grabbed my belongings and headed home. I popped a triple dose of Aleve. I kept up the ice.
Then I started beating myself up. I’d been in a basic class. How the hell did I end up getting this injured? The answer was depressing because my ego was to blame.
A few weeks ago, I wrote about fear and my issues with this very pose: crow. Several of my instructors saw that article, and in class they commented that this was a common situation. They had ideas on how I might tackle this pose.
When crow came up in class, the instructors often gave me a nod or tried to provide assistance. This was always appreciated, but at the same time, it added pressure. I found myself pushing beyond my comfort zone, and that’s how I got myself into this mess.
The block is a good way to gain height to make it easier to land your knees on the back of your arms when doing crow. That night I held the pose for a second or so, but then lost it and fell backward on to the block. My feet didn’t land square.
I’m convinced that if I hadn’t written that article, I never would have pushed as hard, and I wouldn’t be injured now.
At least getting ice on the thigh immediately reduced the impact of the trauma. Six days later, I’m able to walk without much pain, but the twist or bend is still not there. I won’t be jogging for a while. The thigh is a big, deep muscle, and there’s not much you can do except ice and rest. I’ve been advised to take a month off.
This time will force me to reflect on how I got into this and how going forward I might do things differently. It could have been worse, and as long as I rest and heal properly, there will be no long-term issues or expensive doctor visits
Rest, however, is just as challenging for me as Crow, and, in some ways, it’s worse.