This weekend I made a triumphant return to yoga.
Sadly, my life has been yoga-free since the end of July. My surgeon said it’d take about two months to get back to my full vinyasa flow and suggested I settle for a “gentle” practice with no pressure on the toes. I decided to hold off altogether as that kind of yoga doesn’t appeal to me. I get bored in a slow moving yoga class.
My favorite yoga teacher, Jennifer, holds an intermediate level flow class every other Saturday at the gym. This class has been a part of my life for about 10 years. Sometimes I have trouble finding the motivation to break up my Saturday morning with a drive across town for yoga but Jennifer is such a great instructor that I never regret taking time out of my day. It’s been difficult to stay away from class so I was anxious for the weekend. I knew this was my chance to get back on the mat.
I was a compliant patient and followed doctor’s orders–no pressure on the toes. Meaning, no downward dog, no plank.
I really hate to participate in a class if I have to sit out for half of the poses. I wasn’t sure how to modify and still get through the entire class but I quickly realized the solution once I got there.
The yoga block was going to be my new friend.
I’ve never used a block under my foot before. I typically find it helpful to use as an extension of my arms if I don’t want to overstretch during tricky poses, like triangle and warrior 3.
During the one hour class, I was pleasantly surprised by how many poses I could still do by placing the block under my ankle. I put it in the “crook” of my ankle to elevate my foot so that my toes wouldn’t push against the ground. I used a foam block as opposed to one made out of cork. I find it a little more forgiving to the top of my foot.
Here are some of my yoga modifications:
Child’s Pose — this is a good go-to when you want a lighter practice. Since I couldn’t physically do the downward dog, I spent a lot of time here. You can see I have the block between my shin and the top of my foot. My ankle doesn’t move so I just wedged it there to keep my toes off the ground.
Plank — I opted to do plank on my knees with the block supporting my ankle in the same fashion. I was still engaging my core and getting a good triceps workout so I didn’t feel gipped out of a calorie burn.
I used the block in the same way during a series where we stood on our knees. It looked similar in table top for cat/cow or sunbird, toes barely grazing the floor.
At the end of the hour, I felt rusty within my yoga practice but energized by the focus it took to stay creative. I walked in discouraged by my limitation and walked out feeling proud that I found a way to get a good workout anyway. Namaslay.