Can yoga speed up the healing process after an accident or fall? I’d like to think so, of course. And falls can happen to any one of us, at any time. Children seem to bounce back, but as we get older our powers of recovery start to wane.

My recent fall came out of the blue, as they always do. One minute I was crossing the road outside my house, and the next flying through the air. I had tripped over a sunken drain cover. I was shaken and badly scraped and bruised, but luckily no breaks or twisted joints as I fell on all fours.

How can yoga help the healing process? I staggered inside and lay down on my back and waited for my body (and mind) to settle down, and started some steady yoga breathing. (Shock delays the pain, and it wasn’t until the next day that stiffness and bruising started to kick in.)

In my view, it’s best to let the body heal itself: rest, cancel all engagements and (one of the hardest things) accept what has happened. The next day, as I couldn’t kneel or bend my knees very far, I turned to chair yoga for gentle stretches to the upper body. I paid attention to hands, wrists, shoulders and arms. I did sitting sun salutations.

Treats are vital when the stuffing has been knocked out of you, so think massage, magazines, nice food. Think about what you CAN do, and don’t dwell on what you can’t do. If in any doubt go to the doctor for advice.

In the following days what was worked for me were:  standing warm-ups; chair based poses; legs up the wall to reduce inflammation in knees and relax around the hips; gentle downward dog with hands on the kitchen top to stretch out the back and low bridge for the lower back. I also managed some leg raises, and variations on boat for the core.  

Building up confidence after a fall is vital. Practise any standing balances you can, providing you have a wall or chair to hold on to. And make a resolution to do lots of balancing poses in the future.

Here are a few useful links:

Preventing falls

Balance sequence for all

The standing flow sequence for more experienced students