So just when I think I've overcome my fear of doing the Yoga Handstand (see What Are You Afraid Of? post on 2/10/10) I went and dislocated the second toe on my left foot doing the very thing I have been trying to conquer for so long. UGH. Does this mean I'm going right back to square one?
The ironic part of dislocating my toe is that I was doing the handstand quite well last Sunday in my yoga class. I got up on the first try with my feet balanced against the wall. I managed to stay up for 15 solid breaths after which I came back down to the ground. I heard the instructor say "five more breaths" and for some reason thought it was necessary to get back up again for those last five breaths. Because I was still kind of wobbly from being upside down for 15 seconds, when I tried to vault myself back in the air I lost my balance and came down the wrong way on my toe. I heard the most horrific cracking sound and looked down to find my toe bent in an unnatural, completely abnormal way. My toe was actually turned toward me.
I packed up my yoga gear, hobbled out to my car, (barefoot in the Michigan winter, no less) and headed to the emergency room. I was convinced my toe was broken and I would have a disfigured, crooked toe mocking me for the rest of my life every time it peeked out from a pair of summer sandals. Can you believe my first thought was that I better not have a crooked toe peeking out of my summer sandals? To my huge relief, the ER doctor reassured me that my toe was merely dislocated, not broken. She popped it back into place (yes it hurt like a son-of-a-bitch) and I was on my way.
The whole time I was driving to the hospital I kept thinking that I shouldn't have done that stupid handstand anyway and that I would never try it again. Ever. I clearly have issues with this particular pose and I thought this was surely a sign from above that the yoga gods were excusing me from ever doing a damn Adho Mukha Vrksasana (ah-doh moo-kah vriks-SHAHS-anna) again. I swear I could hear their sarcastic whispers in the far off corners of my mind teasing me as they speculated about my inability to do such a simple thing. I convinced myself by the time I reached my destination that I may not even do yoga again at all. Period. I was talking myself right out of ever doing another silly downward facing dog or triangle pose.
When I found out my toe was dislocated and not broken, I sighed with relief that foot would not be grossly disfigured and I would, indeed, wear my sandals this summer as planned. As I thought more about my morning however, I realized that I needed to find a silver lining to this story instead of vowing to swear off yoga forever. I had to find a good reason to get back on the proverbial horse.
As I replayed the morning's events I realized that I was obviously mad about hurting my toe but I never gave myself credit for getting up on the handstand for 15 seconds in the first place. I only chided myself for not accomplishing my task the second time around and managing to damage a toe in the process. I really didn't need to attempt the second handstand. My bad. I know better now that I should only get up once and however long I stay is my measure for the day. I need to be cognizant of that incredible accomplishment and give myself credit where credit is due. My dislocated toe might not have been a sign from the yoga gods to quit altogether, but rather a warning to quit pushing myself past natural limitations. The more I thought about how far I have come in my yoga journey over the past several months the more I appreciated what my body is capable of doing, not what it isn't.
So, I took this week off from my usual workout routine to let my toe heal. I slept in a little bit later each day. I enjoyed a little extra TLC from the hubby and kids and I gave myself a break. I won't be going to my yoga class this Sunday, but I will go next week. I promise I will get back on the horse and this time I will try to keep myself moving at a slow trot and resist the urge to sprint into a full gallop.
My toes, and I'm sure the rest of my body, will thank me.