As a yoga teacher, martial arts instructor, fitness director- you name it, we have all seen a student come in with an injury and continue to go way beyond the limit they should.
This is why instructors ask at the beginning of class how everyone is feeling, if there are any injuries, etc. We want to make sure that our students are healing and not hurting themselves more.
Being a yoga teacher is a beautiful gift. Every day I am entrusted to hold space for wonderful souls and lead them through an energetic journey and releasing tension, etc that has been stored in their body. It's a dream I am living! But it can also be frustrating when you see people going too far into a pose because their ego takes over. Yoga can be somewhat of a dance- a flow of beauty. And sometimes as yogis- we may push ourselves past our edge in that flow. We may go so far that we overstretch our muscles.
When you stretch, you take your muscle to the point where you can feel a slight pull, your edge, and hold this position for a few seconds without pain or discomfort. However, if you stretch your muscles beyond their normal range of motion, past your edge, you may experience a pulled muscle -- or muscle strain.
It is my number one mission as a yoga teacher, is to allow healing for my students. Whether that be physical, mental, or spiritual. This is why I check in every class with how everyone is feeling and if there are any injuries. When someone makes mention of an injury, I will offer them options for their practice to help heal that area and not overwork the already pulled, or strained, muscle.
Yoga is not a race. It is not about perfection. It is a practice. There are some days where you can touch your toes and there are others where you are reaching with every bit of your energy to barely get there! That's why it's a practice. Every day life can cause us to hold tension in places that were open yesterday.
Be gentle with yourself. When you have an injury, or maybe you can't go as far into the pose as the person beside you (no looking- stay on your mat, this is your practice, your mind- your body), don't beat yourself up. Every body is made different. Structurally. Injuries. You name it. Refrain from saying that you are horrible at yoga. That you can't do this. Honor your body! Listen to it. Nurture it! Love it! I promise the flexibility will come. The pose will become easier! Just give yourself some grace!
Acknowledge your injuries, let you teacher know, and take these as little lessons to slow down and allow the healing to take place!