Coach B: Notes from the Injury Bench
Brianna, aka Coach B, recently tore her ACL on a skiing adventure. That's nine months on the bench, but what does that really feel like? As the body heals, how do we heal our emotional and mental state? How can we use injury as an opportunity for growth? As athletes, we lean on movement not only as our physical outlet, but often times as a therapeutic outlet. So what happens when that outlet is forcibly removed? B is using her downtime to deep dive into some of these big questions, to explore the impacts of injury, and how we can approach the experience as an invitation to restore balance.
Come along! This will be a three part series...
Have you actually ever listened to your body? Have you ever really focused all your attention on yourself? As a yoga teacher, I thought I had. But I’m wrong. Here I am, with a freshly torn ACL for the second time, and I am realizing that I still haven’t ever really listened to my body. I mean, what can we expect when we ask a body part, “What are you trying to tell me?” It’s not like my knee can speak back, right? It can. And so can the rest of my body. I just haven't listened.
Sometimes life hits you with a big fat slap in the face (or a torn ACL) to teach you the lesson you need to learn. As a go-go-go type, going slow has always been hard for me, which is ironic considering I love a good slow-flow yoga class. But that’s not the same. Now that I’ve got an ACL to rehab for the next nine months, I’ve got serious ants in my pants. Every time I hear my friends talking about their next surf trip or see someone running down the street, my heart aches a little bit. I feel confined by my injury. I want to be able to go fast again!
But it’s time for me to appreciate the time I now have to go slow and to really learn how to listen to my body. When I first got hurt, I was pissed. We all know being injured sucks! I’m not going to pretend that as soon as I remembered I could just stop and take a deep breath in and a slow breath out, I returned to a more balanced state of being. It took some persistence. It took perseverance, but sure enough as I kept returning to this, my body began to speak.
It reminded me of how strong and resilient I am! When I give myself the time, attention, and love that I need, my body responds fast. The swelling disappears. The pain starts to fade. The function returns. So in a way, I still am going fast, just on a more cellular level. And so I am dedicating the next nine months to listening and going slow, so that someday soon I may go fast again. It’s balance. One cannot exist without the other and the balance between the two requires listening. Really listening.
Have you been injured? What did you learn from the experience? And how are you listening to your body to avoid getting injured again?