About a week ago I pulled a muscle in my right big toe – probably teaching a yoga class. I was initially surprised as I am really into stretching my feet and they are pretty flexible and open, but maybe this is exactly how it happened. Regardless, it has been pretty painful and limiting, so I have had to be very mindful of how I move my feet when practicing and teaching. This speaks to an important aspect of our yoga practice – ahimsa. Ahimsa (the first yama) is the practice of non-violence or non-harming. We often think of this in relation to the people around us, but it applies equally to ourselves. This mean listening to the body and honouring the signals it gives us. So if something hurts, then stop and modify so that pain is not longer present. In order to cultivate ease in our bodies, we have to obey the principle of never moving into pain. Easier said than done, however, especially with a part of the body like the foot.
So I thought I would explain how I am nurturing my foot and big toe through its healing process. This sprain is most likely a partial tear of the ligaments that support the toe. When I move into plantar flexion (i.e., pointing the toes, I can feel pain and pulling along the top of the foot. As I am also a homeopath, I know that there are a few remedies that are essential to support healing of any type of sprain or strain in the body. The key remedies are Arnica, Ruta and Rhus-tox. Together these 3 remedies make a wonderful combination to help heal quickly from any injury – from pulled muscles to larger accidents. I’ve been taken them in 30C several times a day to help speed up the healing process. Next I have been focusing on a few poses like Viparita Karani (Legs up the Wall) and Sarvangasana (Shoulderstand) to take the weight off my feet, reduce swelling and calm the mind. And most importantly I’ve been really just observing what ranges of motion feel ok and what doesn’t. For instance, Urdhva Mukha Svanasana (Upward Dog) – with deep pressure on the foot in plantar flexion is a big no-no right now. From experience with past yoga injuries I know that pushing through the pain will only lengthen the healing process. Cultivating patience is key.
The past couple of days have been much better and I expect that in another week or so I will be able to start moving into some deeper plantar flexion once again. Once I am ready for this, I’ll likely be exploring some of the therapeutic exercises from Jill Miller – of Yoga Tune Up. Check out these ‘feet’ videos on YouTube.
If you have questions on healing from injuries from either a yoga or homeopathy perspective – drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d be very happy to answer them in upcoming blog articles. Namaste!