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We may safely practice yoga with an injury. By knowing the 3 stages of healing while following the recommended guidelines for ice and heat therapy may dramatically increase the healing process. It is always advisable to also consult with a doctor.

I) Acute Stage (4-6 days) 
This is when the injury first occurs. The injury may have been felt during a particular activity or within 24 hours after the activity. During this stage rest the injured area for 4 - 6 days. Practice yoga on a completely different part of the body from the injury. 

Inflammation is usually present and elevating the affected area will help control swelling while reducing throbbing / discomfort. Inversion poses will reduce inflammation by activating the lymphatic system and also provide elevation if the injury is in the lower body. Ice therapy as mentioned in the Ice and Heat Therapy section will be helpful. 

II) Sub-Acute Stage (1-3 Weeks) 
The sub-acute stage follows the acute stage and lasts around 1-3 weeks. The injured tissue is fragile and susceptible to re-injury. Do not become overzealous and try to make a quick return to the usual level of performance. An adequate warm-up (preparatory postures) before coupled with correct postural alignment is essential. During this stage less is more for the injured area. Move into the yoga poses slowly and gently with non-weight bearing movements. It is a time to slowly strengthen the muscles involved in the injury. As symptoms diminish gradually commence weight bearing movements. When stretching use long hold times while executing the posture outside of the maximum range while using slow deep breathing. If a yoga pose causes pain, tingling, or numbness stop immediately. The pain may not be felt immediately. It is important to note how the injury feels for the first 24 hours after practicing. As soon as the injured area is stretched too strongly then the nervous system will send signals to tighten the injured area. This is the bodies attempt to protect the injury. 

III) Chronic Stage (12-18 Months) 
Following the sub-acute stage is the chronic stage which may last 12-18 months for complete healing. During this time the injured site may feel healed but it is still susceptible to a re-injury and chronic inflammation if excessive force is used. Caution must be taken during this stage and that the injury will not be healed until this stage has passed. Posture pertaining to the affected area must not be executed at more than 80% of the maximum level of output.


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