Self-Practice Journal / Yoga Injuries

Torn Ligament Cont.

My doctor called me this morning, and the prognosis on my wrist is pretty good. Apparently, the MRI revealed that I have only a slight tear/degeneration in the Triangular Fibrocartilage Complex (TFCC). In other words, no surgery is required. The TFCC, as I understand it, is an area on the ulnar side of the wrist that consists of cartilage and ligaments, and is a frequent location of sports injury. Basically, I just need to give it a rest to let it heal, and the doctor’s going to put a cast on me tomorrow to immobilize my wrist entirely for about three weeks.

This will certainly put a damper on my practice for about the next month, but I expect to make a full recovery. Even still, this whole debacle has made me reconsider my practice, and I will certainly be much more cautious in the future about how many arm balances and inversions I do, and I’ll try to be more prudent about the frequency with which I do these intense poses.

In the past few weeks, I’ve been told time and time again by the various doctors that the wrist joint is not designed to be a weight-bearing joint. If anything, the wrist joint is well adapted for hanging (like from tree branches), but not for bearing the entire weight of an adult human body. This is a particularly salient fact when you consider that the asana practice is supposed to bring the body to something like a natural state of vitality. In other words, there is something incredibly paradoxical about doing unnatural things with your body in order to make it healthy.

Certainly, if and when my wrist heals, I won’t totally give up arm balances and inversions — they are really fun, after all — but I do intend to take steps towards a more holistic and open-minded approach towards the yoga practice, trying to appreciate the full scope of physical asanas, as well as the full scope of all eight limbs of astanga yoga.

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