I jotted down a few things on the one year anniversary of breaking my foot. I did this for myself, to reflect on the things that this past year has taught me. While I was writing this I thought others could learn from this too. So here are a few things I learned from breaking my foot –
1. To slow down – I literally was stopped in my tracks. I’m always on the go. Ask anyone, I just walk fast (normally). Breaking my foot forced me to move just a little bit slower – although I was pretty good on the crutches J We live in such a fast-paced world that sometimes it’s hard to enjoy things along the way. Life is a journey. Enjoy each part of it instead of rushing through it.
2. How important our breath is – I’ve been doing yoga for the past 5 years (hard to believe it’s already been 5 years) and I’ve always paid attention to my breath, but after breaking my foot that’s all I had and was able to do. Yoga is so much more than just the poses, but it became highlighted that much more – rely on your breath and you’ll get through this. MC Yogi’s song, “Breath Control” became my mantra. With each pose your breath can allow you to go deeper into a pose or it can keep you right where you ought to be. Breath control.
3. Patience. The moment I broke my foot each day seemed like an eternity. I had a lot of time to just sit and think. And believe me I wish I could’ve made the clock fast forward. Working on my breath control helped build my patience. This is something that I continue to struggle with and am still working on. J
4. To be mindful – I’m mindful with each step that I take. I don’t think that I wouldn’t have broken my foot had I been more mindful (I just shouldn’t have been running in the rain in flip flops, lol). But this one goes along with the slowing down lesson. I try and do things with purpose and mindfulness instead of just doing things to be doing something. This one’s a hard one for me to explain…one example I can give with this is being mindful with eating. After breaking my foot that 1st week out I was completely lying around, foot propped up, & had minimal activity. Well, I gained 5 pounds just like that. I had to change the amount of what I was eating (scale back on the total calories, because I wasn’t going to be nearly as active as before) and be more mindful with when I would eat, i.e. was I eating because I was bored or was I eating because I was really hungry. I’ve never struggled with my weight but this allowed me to see and understand what my patients might be going through as they struggle to watch what they eat.
5. Compassion – never in a million years would I think I’d need to learn this. But believe me when I tell you people are not nice (& it’s not just because I live in Miami). I can’t tell you how many times people would try and run past me just to get through a door before I did (I moved slow on the crutches, what can I say?). When I was out of the boot and going to rehab on the outside I appeared normal, but to others they never would have known that I was 4 months out of breaking my foot. Until you’ve been in someone’s shoes you just never know how much of a struggle it might be just to walk from point A to point B. Those 1st few weeks after my cast came off were maybe the hardest of all – it felt like I was trying to walk for the very 1st time. The crutches were nice because again, people could see I was “disabled” but the moment it came off I no longer had my “crutch”.
6. I’m a better teacher because of it – I’m a visual learner and therefore that’s how I teach – showing poses to the kids. Well, with a broken foot I was limited to say the least (every now and then I’d act like I was going through the sun salutations but I was never balanced and able to do both sides, so I quickly went back to relying on my voice for instructions). The kids thought I was crazy at first, trying to teach a yoga class without doing the poses?! I used it as an opportunity to show and explain to them that yoga isn’t just about the poses. We worked on our breath sometimes and that was all we did. One week all we did was make a book of phrases (based on the sutras). I let them draw what it meant to them and how they could apply it in their lives. I had to rely on my voice to teach. I can say it forced me to work on something that was my weakest part of teaching. Relying solely on my voice to instruct the kids through the poses is tough! (I can’t lie, sometimes it almost seemed a little like the game twister). I’ve become a better teacher because of breaking my foot.
7. This is just one chapter in my life. I had a hard time dealing with not being able to exercise and do the things I love. I’m glad I broke my foot (I can say that nowJ). I had to be stopped literally in my tracks. While I wouldn’t want this to happen again or to happen to others, injuries really do teach you a lot. I’m still learning, daily. Breaking my foot helped me to learn more about myself and grow. I’m forever grateful. Life is good.