We have all dealt with an injury at one time or another. In the last few years, I have dealt with back muscle pain that ranges from moderate to severe. I started my yoga practice many years ago with hyperflexibility and little strength, so rehabbing my back involved strength training (which is now a passion of mine).
Now that I am often able to practice yoga without pain, it has been an interesting comparison on the mat versus six years ago. My planks are no longer modified, and I can jump back to chaturanga (which took many years of practice). I can hold armbalances with greater ease, and have noticed muscles I never had before.
Going back to the early years of my practice, I was close to Hanumanasana (full splits), and loved pyramid pose. I could barely hold myself up in firefly, but at least my legs extended (which they can no longer do). As the muscles in my body tightened and strengthened, the flexibility I had come to enjoy in my practice has slowly faded away. I use props more now than ever before: a block in half moon pose and a strap for forward folds are welcome additions that I had once been ashamed to use as a crutch.
This change in my ability has been a great challenge on the mat, as I have had to re learn my limits. A sun salutation looks very different for me now versus then, and it has been a wonderful reminder that our practice never ends. We will never become masters, we simply change and grow and visit the mat each time as if it were the first. Besides, now that I’m stronger I can try out new things like dangling from this lyra hoop, and I guarantee that six years ago I couldn’t have even gotten up into it!