I broke a toe and it's been great for my yoga practice. I highly recommend getting a broken toe sometime and practicing with it. I’ve practiced with broken toes before. And do remember enjoying those practices too. But this time I like what I’m discovering even more. Maybe I’m just older with an older practice and can appreciate more of the subtle experience. Or maybe the toe is broken in a more manageable way. What ever the reason might be is irrelevant. All I know is that I’ve practiced with many injuries and aliments and working with a broken toe is definitely my favorite.
It really helps to clean up my alignment in so many ways. It helped to make me more efficient when I jump forward because there is no way in hell I’m going to land on it. This caution coming forward helped remind me to prepare more efficiently before I even attempt the movement. This allows me to slow down and land softly with much less effort. I’m focusing on planting down more through the balls of my feet evenly which has done wonderful things for my standing poses. This broken toe makes sure I incorporate all 8 limbs, not just, limb 3, asana (physical postures), into my practice. These examples are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to how this situation has guided my yoga journey in this awesome direction. There are plenty of things I don’t love with this broken toe (shoes tops the list), but my yoga practice is not one of those things.
So this broken toe incident is a reminder for me, and anyone else who could use a reminder, that rarely will we feel 100%. If we waited to practice until we didn’t have anything mentally or physically making us feel less than 100% we would rarely practice. After the blinding pain of breaking my toe subsided, my first thought was “this is going to effect my yoga practice.” I didn’t expect it to be in such an awesome way. This happens all the time with my own bumps and bruises through life and I see it all the time with students. Seeing students on Skype has allowed me to work with them when they are in really rough shape. I’ve guided students through practices with debilitating depression, sinus infections, chest colds, broken bones and a multitude of muscular/ skeletal issues, to name a few. The thing all of these aliments have in common is that practicing in a way that suits your needs will help you feel better. We should never sacrifice “the whole” for “the part” but honor “the part”. “The part” can be a big de-motivater sometimes. Sometimes I feel motivated to practice but a lot of the time I practice with no motivation whatsoever. What I’ve noticed is that motivation comes as
I’m practicing. As I start to feel better, which happens quickly, I just as quickly become motivated to continue on.
“The part” is where the lesson is. It is what dictates your journey. Embrace and move with it. Any other way won't work harmoniously!