Yoga When You’re Hurt

Two weeks into my injury and I can’t drive, can’t straighten my arm, can’t go down the stairs properly, can’t do my hair, can’t teach a class…BUT it doesn’t mean I can’t practice yoga. In fact, this is the very time when deep connection to what’s going on inside my body and mind is necessary, and all the “formal” practice time on my mat continues to equip me for precisely this – dealing with what IS. It has become an interesting experiment observing the ebb and flow of sensations, energy levels, thought patterns, and emotions as I work with limited range of movement and a restricted routine. The yogic prescription when you’re hurt is the same as when you are healthy – breathe, feel, connect, allow, take care, let go.

My mom passed away late summer and after her death it was a whirlwind of required activity and duties. There was hurt on a different level – unlike the physical pain of a dislocated elbow or sprained ankle, the pain of grief and loss sears your heart. I pushed through thinking it was better to keep going than to stop and let it fully surface. But up it came over and over and there was no escaping. So I took a deep breath, allowed myself to feel the constriction around my heart centre, held it with compassion, and let it be. I lay down on my mat and alternated between the deep heart-opening pose of matsyasana (fish pose) and the comforting energy of balasana (child’s pose) as I let emotion flow. I chanted all the mantras I knew, knowing that to release the hurting was to make way for healing. Ah, once again, yoga comes to the rescue.

Back to my elbow…As I was sitting on my mat the other day, I decided to explore. With limited use of one arm and foot, and without overcompensating with my uninjured side, what could I do with a block, a strap, a blanket, a cushion, and a couple of Yoga Tune-Up balls? Turns out quite a bit…Holding on to a block, I discovered I could safely do ardha surya namaskara (half sun salutation). Propped and padded and cushioned, I could do many seated poses. No matter what, I could always breathe. Slowing everything down, I let my body guide me without a scripted sequence, and listened closely to the signals that came from within. Keeping in mind the guidelines from my doctors as well as trusting my inner wisdom, a beautiful practice emerged that lifted my spirits, soothed my wounds, and brought me peace. The power of yoga prevails once again.

Today, I’m achy, cranky, impatient, and getting cabin fever. My practice is very different – chanting and OMing and bumble-bee breathing…but still with the same focus – breath, feeling, connection, acceptance. No matter what the day, hour, moment…yoga is available and it is turning out to be the best therapy of all. I hope to see you in January and let’s continue to explore together…


Heartfelt thanks to all of you who sent me emails with well-wishes! I feel your good vibes – they help too!


  1. Donna & Jeff said,

    December 8, 2016 at 3:34 pm

    Well you look awesome! Way to rock kick ass boots with that sling! Now that’s sending a powerful message: ‘I may be winged but I’m DEFINITELY not out!’

    Sending you healing and joyful energy my friend😊 Namaste, Donna

    Sent from me!


    • ANNE STUBBS said,

      December 8, 2016 at 4:22 pm

      Thank you Donna! Glad to have a pair of boots that not only fit a taped-up ankle but look good, too…Grateful for your healing energy 🙂

  2. Glynis said,

    December 8, 2016 at 3:52 pm

    Very meaningful and I am glad you are caring for yourself. Hope you are being spoiled, at least a bit. Great pick too. Hugs

  3. Trinity said,

    December 8, 2016 at 4:03 pm

    Thanks for sharing this, Anne. I broke my wrist (both arm bones at wrist) a couple of years ago and it was very discouraging. I too learned how to use props and make do..and it was humbling and also very rewarding in my practice and for teaching…with understanding of injury. It didn’t heal right so I still work with it but regardless, I count my blessings for these teachings and all that I can do.

    Namaste. Heal well and enjoy this season.

    With warmth,


    • ANNE STUBBS said,

      December 8, 2016 at 4:25 pm

      Yes, Trinity, the word “humbling” is so right. Gives you a different perspective being on the other side, and a better appreciation for the advice “listen to your body”. Thanks for your warmth and good wishes.

  4. Elizabeth Cole said,

    December 8, 2016 at 5:57 pm

    Poor you Anne but your positive attitude to all the challenges of life, shines through. I would love to see you and take you for that long awaited cup of tea. Let me know when you feel like getting out. Love, Liz Cole

    Sent from my iPad


  5. mkha2016 said,

    December 8, 2016 at 6:33 pm

    Speedy recovery and keep up the good work…

  6. judy fagan cornell said,

    December 8, 2016 at 7:15 pm

    I’m so glad you wrote how you have been practicing yoga with your injuries.
    I can feel your acceptance and releases.
    Heal well and soon and have a happy Christmas with family and friends.
    See you in Jan. Judy

    Sent from my iPad

  7. John said,

    December 8, 2016 at 9:40 pm

    Glad to see you are making progress. Based on the x-ray I was not sure that it was possible to do such a thing. I went and bought winter boots with deep treads. Do not want the same fate.

    Will keep you in my thoughts.



  8. Judy Johnstone said,

    December 14, 2016 at 10:41 am

    What a great post Anne, thank you. I am glad you are healing and hope you are well soon. Wishing you all the best. Have a great Christmas and see you in January. Namaste
    Judy J.

  9. ANNE STUBBS said,

    December 14, 2016 at 11:25 am

    Thanks again for all the healing vibes, folks! Let’s send them out to others in need as well and tap into that full moon energy!

  10. pammacphee said,

    December 15, 2016 at 6:56 pm

    You look radiant and lovely and are as inspiring as ever! Much love, Pam ❤

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