Treading Lightly
Treading Lightly

What I Wish I Knew Before Starting New Zealand’s Routeburn Track

I’m spending most of this month traveling around New Zealand, and while I will certainly post more about what my boyfriend and I have done and all of the details (packing list, itinerary, must-sees, etc.), I thought I’d start with the part that most influenced everything else, our Great Walk.

We planned our entire trip around doing one of New Zealand’s famed Great Walks. We didn’t get our first choice (Milford), but we gladly signed up for the Routeburn Track. Outside of booking places to stay, planning for our hike took up most of our pre-trip preparation time. To be honest, we fumbled our way through and learned the hard way that we weren’t quite as prepared as we hoped.

Routeburn Track: The Divide Start

Routeburn Track Itinerary

Day 1 (Nov. 7): Drive to The Divide outside Te Anau. Hike 12km (7.5 miles) to Lake Mackenzie Hut. Sleep at the hut.

Day 2 (Nov. 8): Hike 11.3km (7 miles) to Routeburn Falls Hut. Sleep at the hut and eat as much of our rations as possible.

Day 3 (Nov. 9): Leisurely hike 8.8km (5.5 miles) to the end of the track at the Routeburn Shelter. Drive our thoughtfully relocated rental car on to our hostel in Wanaka before collapsing.

Spoiler Alert: This definitely didn’t happen.

Routeburn Track November Lake Hoden

What I Wish I Knew Before Starting New Zealand’s Routeburn Track

1. The Weather is No Joke

We booked our hut stays in July (4 months before our trip) when weather and the real details of our trip were completely unknown. Our hike was scheduled for early November with two hut stays along the way. We planned for inclement weather that could change on a dime. I had packed thermal tights (meant for running/hiking in the snow), fleece pants, a fleece sweatshirt, a down jacket, a raincoat, two pairs of hiking socks, 1 pair of socks for the huts, a baseball hat, two long-sleeve quick-dry shirts, and two short sleeve quick-dry tops. I figured I would layer up and strip things off as I went. HA.

We were not at all ready to be rained on for hours or to have that rain turn into thick flurries of snow. It rained on us for 4 hours and snowed on us for 2 on the way to Mackenzie Lake. I was in no way prepared to be this drenched. If we would have been able to continue on to the next hut, I would have had to hike all day in wet clothes or risk getting my only dry clothes soaked through. Another pair of clothes would have been essential.

I also desperately wished I had not worn my down jacket while hiking because once it got wet, it was useless. I shivered like crazy and wore my sleeping bag in the hut while being green with envy over other people’s warm, dry coats. I did my best to dry it out in front of the fire and then let it hang overnight, but it was still quite damp the next day.

Routeburn Track Mackenzie Lake Ranger Hut

Lucky for us, it kept snowing and the track was closed between Mackenzie Lake and Routeburn Falls. We were turned back and told to hike back to our car on day 2, which meant hiking for hours in untouched snow (gorgeous) before it started to melt from the trees and leave us just as drenched as the rainstorm.

Lesson: This was the best weather forecast we could find, but it only shows you three days at a time. Plan for the worst case scenario. And if the track may be closed due to snow, assume it will snow or sleet at the lowest elevation too. The weather when you pack your bag will not be the same when you get there.

2. Being in Decent Shape is Not Enough

Ouch. Our poor feet and calves were not prepared for this hike. Training would have made us much more comfortable, and left us with more energy to explore in the days following our hike. We physically could have completed the full hike, but two days of grueling conditions left us immensely thankful to be done.

3. Most Raincoats Are Useless (AKA Rent Real Gear)

I was dry for maybe 3o minutes before my raincoat became more of a wet plastic layer I was wearing for show. After 6 hours, I was drenched all the way through. I really wished I had rented a hardcore raincoat that would have gotten me at least 2 hours of dryness. One of our fellow Routeburn Track hikers had on all of her rain gear and a heavy-duty poncho. She was the happiest, and driest, among us.

4. My Boots Would Bring Me Great Joy

It took me months and painful trips to try on hiking boots before I finally found the right pair. And then the cost almost stopped me at the register. I am so glad I followed through. My hiking boots kept my feet dry and (mostly) warm through 6 hours of rain and 5 hours of stomping through snow/slush. They were even better than I imagined, and I felt fairly secure in my footing given my ankle history. Almost everyone else was desperately trying to dry out their boots and socks at the hut. My feet were so dry I was able to wear my socks for the full two days and give my other dry pair to my boyfriend.

Routeburn Track Lake Mackenzie Hut Bunk

5. The Huts Aren’t Actually Heated

I know, I was upset too. I read that the huts were heated, and that is really far from the truth. Lake Mackenzie had a single wood-burning stove in the kitchen/lounge area. It was maybe large enough to warm a tiny cabin built for 2, not a massive hut built for 60. There were only 10 of us in our hut that night, and we couldn’t all comfortably fit around it. It did zero to heat the bunk area upstairs, which had no heater of its own. With temps below zero that night, our hut was somewhere just above zero (no one’s water froze, but we sure did).

6. Just Pack the Candy

It seemed downright bonkers to me to bring candy on a long hike where I was going to be making unheard of demands on my body. I was wrong, I should have brought the candy. I was fiercely jealous of another woman’s stash. Some gummy bears would have gone a long way to boost moral.

7. More Food

Yes, pack more. Twice as much as you think. We would have been quite hungry on day three if we had been able to make it that far.

Routeburn Track November Spring Snow

Top Routeburn Track Tips:

1. Our car may not have been relocated by TrackHopper, but we were thrilled with their service and I would 100 percent recommend them. They were the first ones to let us know that part of our track was closed (Um… hello DOC… Are you out there?). They assured us that they wouldn’t move our car or charge us unless the closed portion reopened and we were able to hike through.

Our hut-mates were not so lucky. One family was charged for the relocation that didn’t happen and told they would just have to claim it on their trip insurance for a refund. We by far got the better service.

2. Packing our bags for more than three weeks of travel and a three day backcountry hike was not possible. There was no way we could have fit everything we needed into easy to carry bags. Bev’s Tramping Gear Hire saved the day on this one. We picked up our stuff in Te Anau the morning of our first day of hiking. We rented rain pants that kept our legs dry (much unlike our epic failures of jackets), a cooking pot to use in the huts, and sleeping bags. Our car relocation service was going to drop off our rented gear back at Bev’s for us, but we ended up driving back through ourselves given the closure.

3. Most grocery stores around NZ have freeze dried foods and other backpacking food. We brought some from home to try to make things easier with my dietary restrictions, but if you don’t have to worry about that you’ll easily find food here.


Questions? Worried about something weirdly specific (yeah, me too). Let me know!

The Best Waterproof Athletic Tape

Waterproof athletic tape that actually stays on in the water or extremely sweaty situations is nearly impossible to find. I have spent years suffering through terrible tape that falls off in just about every situation.

My swim coach used to wrap injured joints with what felt like half of a roll of athletic tape, and it would all have fallen off long before we got out of the pool. I was queen of sweating off ankle tape in the middle of basketball games.

waterproof-athletic-tape- waterproof athletic tape

I accidentally found my favorite waterproof athletic tape.

Back when I was healthy, one of my CrossFit friends taped my hands with tape made to protect my palms during endless pull-ups. I was massively skeptical. The weird tape had goats all over it. But it stayed put like nothing I’d ever tried.

I went home and bought myself a couple of rolls of Scary Sticky Goat Tape. A couple of months later my PTT was flaring up, and I couldn’t find my athletic tape. In a pinch I used my Goat Tape.

The hold was impressive. It outlasted the entire CrossFit workout and my shower after.

I’ve never gone back.

best waterproof athletic tape

The Best Waterproof Athletic Tape: Scary Sticky Goat Tape

Goat Tape stays on no matter what I throw at it. A hot, sweaty, dirty hike in the middle of the summer? No problem. An hour and a half swim with endless kick sets and sprints? You bet. Hot yoga? Totally chill.

To be extremely clear, this tape is not like Kinesio Tape. It does not stretch with you, and it’s not used in the same way. Goat Tape is more of a traditional, stiff athletic tape that is used to stabilize joints and limit range of motion. It has been a life-saver post surgery, especially in the early days when I couldn’t even stand the pull of the water on my ankle while swimming.

best waterproof athletic tape

Important things to know:

Goat Tape is extremely sticky. It’s in the name, and they mean it. If you have body hair, you will need to use pre-wrap to prevent an acutely painful, unexpected wax. My brother and I learned this the hard way when I taped his arches… but I bet his feet looked better in sandals!

I purposefully tape my ankle without any pre-wrap. I feel like it gives me a better hold, but there are pre-wraps with adhesives that would likely give you the same feel. Or you can just shave. No judgements here.

Like any tape, your skin needs to be clean and dry before applying or it won’t stick. If you sunscreen or even put lotion on hours before, the tape won’t stick to your skin once you start sweating or swimming. It will, however, still stick to itself.

Always wrap your tape longer than you need. I tend to add an inch or two to the end of the tape to allow for it to unravel slightly in the water without causing critical failure. The end doesn’t always come undone, but it gives me piece of mind that an inch or so can loosen and I won’t have any problems while swimming. This isn’t necessary if you aren’t going to submerge it in water.

Why I’m Addicted to Lifting Heavy

One of the hardest things to give up after surgery was lifting. And even then I didn’t really give it up. I was back in the gym, struggling under heavy weights, while I was still in a cast. I just couldn’t stay away for that long. Lifting keeps me sane, strong, and happy.

peroneal tendon surgery recovery – Exercise-weight-lifting-heavy-seated-dumbbell-strict-press

But it wasn’t always this way.

“In college, I avoided the “bro zone” of the gym like it was a frat house after a rager. I was intimidated by the grunting, the weird machines, and the almost entirely male population outside of the cardio section and free weights. I didn’t want anything to do with their protein shakes and bro tanks. Instead, I used the cardio machines and would do the same one or two exercises with 8-pound weights every time I went to the gym.

But I really wanted to lift.

A taste of CrossFit was all it took to get me addicted to lifting heavy. After a couple of months, I was lifting more weight than I thought possible. Five years later, I regularly squat more than I weigh, and 25-pound dumbbells are my go-to. Today, I feel at home under the bar.

While there are great weight loss and calorie-blasting benefits of lifting heavy, it’s not why I do it. Weightlifting makes me care more about the weight on the bar than on my body. I work hard at the gym to push my body and mind. It’s about what my body is capable of, not what it looks like.”

Continue reading on Healthline.

*This article was originally published on Healthline as 7 Reasons Why I Lift Heavy (And You Should Too). It’s one of the ones I’ve enjoyed writing the most recently, and I thought it fit in well here too. 

6 Months Post Peroneal Tendon Surgery

Let’s just get right out there and say it. I am not at all where I thought I would be 6 months post peroneal tendon surgery. I went into my 6 month post-op appointment yesterday feeling like I was meeting with a professor to check in on a project I hadn’t started.

But I left feeling pretty good about where I’m at.

My calves are finally the same size. (Which means my crops don’t creep up to my knee anymore– hallelujah!) The (albeit exceedingly nice) fellow showed a great deal of enthusiasm for my stellar hopping ability and single leg heel raise strength.

I was feeling great.

My leg strength had been coming back, which also means nearly all of pants actually fit again instead of hanging off my legs like sacks. Its amazing how looking like what you’re used to makes you feel like yourself again.

I was feeling strong. Ready. I was slowly creeping up in how much weight I could lift, my single-leg squats were rapidly improving, and I was throwing in new things at least once a week. Running felt like it was right around the corner.

And then I woke up 65 years older.

Out of nowhere I woke up early one morning with a completely numb left leg. In my half-asleep state I decided it was asleep and just need a little extra blood flow. The more I tried to get the feeling back, the more I realized something else was clearly wrong. After panicking, ruling out a blood clot, and being wide awake, I realized it was sciatica.

Two weeks later and I’m still fighting with it. I finally have a better sense of what makes it better and what angers it to the point where it sends angry stinging bees all the way down my leg into my foot. Short of anger management for pissed off nerves, I’ve tried just about everything.

After months of progress and feeling like I’m finally coming back into myself and a healed body, the sciatica has been particularly devastating. I can’t lift at all, even benching seems to irritate it. Running on the Alter-G or outside like I dreamed of is out of the question until this is fully resolved. Just staying comfortable and getting my work done day to day has been a huge challenge.

But there is good news.

I can swim. Swimming seems to be the one thing that reliably soothes my sciatica and my mind. My ankle is killing it in the water – I can kick a fair bit and flip turns are no problem. Now if I could just get my skin to stop peeling off like a molting snake from the chlorine…

In Case You Missed It:

I thought I could still play basketball
One Month Later
10 months and surgery
11 Months + Surgery
What I learned from a year of being injured
Three months post peroneal tendon surgery
Four months post peroneal tendon surgery

Daily Meditation Progress Days 1-8

My two best friends recently went to a 45-minute meditation class together. My friend Noe, a mindfulness teacher and neurofeedback technician, loved it. She spent the class relaxed and fully into the experience. My other friend Meagan was a mess. She couldn’t sit still. At one point she got so nauseated she thought she might throw up. Her body freaked out and fought her hard (or something she ate chose the worst time ever to pick its fight, you choose).

I laughed and teased Meagan when Noe told me. I thought it was hilarious, and typical energetic Meagan, to fail at even sitting still.

It’s a whole lot less funny now.

Pretty Sure Meditation Shouldn’t Feel Like This

My first meditation this month ended as about 50 percent of my previous attempts did, in the overwhelming need to STOP.

As soon as the person leading the meditation practice says to pay attention to your breathing, my heart rate picks up. I immediately take control of my breathing, and then try to slow it down and calm my body while my heart slams against my rib cage. The teacher says to let go and let your breath flow without your influence, but I don’t know how you can notice your breathing without controlling it. Fighting it.

Now I’m supposed to be noticing my thoughts and letting them pass by, but all I can think about is how uncomfortable this chair is and how badly the tag at the back of my shirt itches. My arms start to ache, and I want nothing more than to readjust the way I’m sitting.

But I fight it. I try to just count my breaths and not lengthen them. I try to pay attention to how my body feels without giving into the scratching and fidgeting.

And then it gets worse.

Out of nowhere this intense tightness and overwhelming feeling wash over me. I feel like my nerves are on fire and the only way to put it out is to move. It spreads across my chest into my shoulders and my arms. I try to breathe into it, to relax, to fight the absolutely all-consuming urge to move.

It’s the opposite of sleep paralysis, trying to stay still instead of fighting the chemicals in your mind to let you move, but the panic and the oppressive feeling is the same. In both cases it’s as if your body is suddenly encased in concrete and it’s slowly crushing you alive.

Ah, meditation. So peaceful.

Daily Meditation Progress

To be fair, it has been getting better. On Wednesday Headspace paused without me realizing it and I accidentally sat on the brink of sleep and meditation for 15 minutes. Out of the past eight days, I’ve only had the searing need to move RIGHT NOW twice. That’s not terrible I guess.

Daily Meditation – February Goal

Daily meditation is one of those things that I’ve always known I should be doing, but never actually put in the effort to make it happen. Back when I was frequently running, I considered that a substitute and let myself off the hook. We meditate at the end of the yoga class I go to once a week. That counts! I’m done.

But January was a rough month for me (and most Americans). The political upheaval was constantly swirling in my mind. Headlines and New York Times notifications would keep me up at night.

My mind has been full – overwhelmingly stuffed with so many ideas and way too many worries. I can’t seem to get a grip or slow them all down. I’m standing in the middle of a Formula One raceway trying to slow my thoughts down without being run over or blown off the track.

I’m taking on meditation this month to try to get some peace and quiet in my own mind. I need to slow my roll and get back in control.

Daily Meditation

February Goal: Daily Meditation

Daily meditation has been on my list since for months, but I somehow, conveniently, never get to it.

Once I committed to doing a new goal every month this year in the hope of creating a few new habits that improve my daily life, I knew meditation would be one of the first I would try out.

For now, I will meditate every day after lunch before picking up work again. I spend the morning fully focused and allow myself to indulge in some internet reading while I take my lunch break. More often than not this leaves me feeling scattered and I have trouble coming back to my work day afterwards.

I can’t completely shut out the world for my entire work day – I have to stay up-to-date on the latest news and delve into the internet for my own writing. But that doesn’t mean that I have to spend more than half the day feeling overwhelmed and like my mind is just dragging me along for the ride.

The final push (or guilt trip) came from Tim Ferriss’ Tools of Titans. I picked up the book late last week, and I have been spending my morning reading time curled up with it. Just about every person highlighted in the book recommends meditation of some kind.


Daily Meditation “Rules”

I have to spend at least 5 interrupted minutes on intentional meditation.

Moving meditation counts, but I have to do it intentionally. I can’t just come home from a workout where I blasted music and sung along (in my head) or constantly repeated my to-do list like a mantra and check off my meditation practice for the day.

For the most part my daily meditation practice will consist of me sitting in a chair for 5-10 minutes. I plan on following guided meditations, especially for the first half of the month while I’m getting into the swing of things.


Resources to Make Daily Meditation Easier

There are tons of meditation apps. I’m starting with Headspace, but I may try others like Calm, Stop Breath & Think, and Meditation Studio.


Do you have any favorite meditations or apps I should check out?


4 Months Post Peroneal Tendon Surgery

Life is creeping back toward normal, and I couldn’t be happier about it. Four months post peroneal tendon surgery I’m sleeping without mummifying my leg. I am just starting to get back into squatting again. I got the go-ahead to finally leave the brace behind for daily life. I’m physically moving on.

In the day to day it’s hard to see the progress I’ve made. And it’s even more difficult when my pain and mobility fluctuate wildly. Some days are great, others feel like I’ve lost weeks of progress overnight.

But I’m slowly slipping toward normal and my obsession about my progress is going with it.

I was wrong.

My expectations about my recovery were woefully incorrect. I was under the impression that I would be back to where I was before surgery after three months. At four, I’m still not there. But I’m also not worrying about it anymore.

My outlook on my recovery post peroneal tendon surgery is heavily skewed by the nine months I spent desperate to get better before anyone realized I needed more than physical therapy could offer. I feel like this has been dragging on forever, that I will never actually get better. But when I can set all of that aside, it’s clearly not true. I’m making strides, I’m inching forward and the steps backward are much less frequent.

Healing is slow. Connective tissue like tendons is particularly sluggish. I’m doing what I can, and I’m not worrying about the rest.

I’ve stopped comparing myself to Lauren Fisher, the CrossFit athlete who had her surgery within days of mine and has shot past me. We aren’t the same person, we have different goals, and frankly, it just doesn’t matter.

2017 is my year.

I’m so excited to start the new year feeling a bit more like my old self. I can throw on my sneakers and head out the door (for a walk, but still). I am working on my leg strength and aggressively building my balance. When it stops raining I can ride my bike outside instead of being cooped up in the gym. My physical therapist has given me a great deal of space to try things out on my own and decide what feels right for my body right now.

I don’t want to be too bold, but I have a feeling I’ll be running in the next month. I’ve already done some really short jogs on the Alter-G treadmill at 80 percent of my bodyweight. If things keep moving like they have been I think I’ll see pavement soon.

Yoga has brought back my sanity (and some of my flexibility). I’ve left each class with a huge sense of relief and space in my body.

My body is forever changed, and it still hasn’t quite figured out what that’s going to be like, but I’m starting to get a hang of the way things are now.


In Case You Missed It:

I thought I could still play basketball
One Month Later
10 months and surgery
11 Months + Surgery
What I learned from a year of being injured
Three months post peroneal tendon surgery

Benefits of Yoga for Recovery

Last weekend I went to my first real yoga class since surgery. I’d been desperate to go, but also knew it was important to really rest and not overly stress my tendon. But my body was begging for some relief.

After being highly restricted in a cast and then boot for two months, I have been feeling painfully tight and out of balance. While I would do specific stretches every now and then to target problem areas, I would get bored or distracted or frustrated after 15-20 minutes and roll up my mat. It’s no surprise that my tight back and painful hips from sitting with my feet elevated straight out in front of me so much persisted.

For the first two months I was extremely careful about not putting any extra tension on my tendon while it healed. Unfortunately this meant that most leg stretches were out, and I was tentative at best in hip openers. Six weeks of crutches didn’t necessarily help.

My body did not feel like mine during my first class. I was tight in unexpected places, really bound on my left side of the body, and I shook the entire class from not using my stabilizing muscles extensively for so long. But by the end of it I had a new appreciation for all my body had tolerated the past three and a half months and a greater understanding of what poses and stretches my new body could tolerate.

Benefits of Yoga for Recovery

Benefits of Yoga for Recovery

It’s not just me – yoga is proven to be a great tool for recovery. And you don’t have to be injured to get the benefits. Yoga can also help you bounce back from tough training (or a late night).


1. Yoga helps you to reconnect with the body.

The last thing I wanted in the wake of my surgery was to listen to my body. It was telling me I was crazy and that it wasn’t going to forgive me for letting someone cut into it. I was also surprised by how hard it fought my rest. I was antsy, sleeping extremely poorly, and my muscles kept twitching or cramping.

But listening in is really important, especially as your recovery progresses. Yoga can help you pay attention to what needs more of your focus and what may be slowing down your recovery. My tight hips and calves were actively tugging on my entire leg – definitely not what you want to properly heal.


2. Breathe.

Injuries, surgery, and recovery are stressful. I imagined a peaceful time where I would curl up with a book and pamper myself with healing foods. But the reality is rarely like that.

Yoga can help you hit reset and calm down. There’s so much to overthink and fret over, not just with your body but with the world. Between the breathing practices and the simple encouragement to pay attention to your breath, yoga can help you actually fill your lungs and relax the body.

Many breath practices like pranayama help to increase blood flow, get more oxygen to your brain and other tissues, and improve how efficiently your body takes in oxygen. New to breathing practices? Try this one made for beginners. 

Yoga poses can also help you relieve stress.


3. Get to know your new body.

As much as I hate it (and I really really hate it), the body you had before your injury is gone. You will most likely heal back to 100 percent, but things will never be exactly the way they were. For me, my tendon was surgically shortened. It may take me years to get full ankle flexion back. I’ve been surgically altered, but the way I have recovered, laid scar tissue, and strengthened my muscles and tendons have also permanently changed my ankle.

I can’t do anything about those things, but I can start to get to know what my new body feels like, how it responds, and what it’s capable of. Yoga has been a great way for me to do that.

Benefits of Yoga for Recovery – SeaWheeze 2014


4. Regain strength and balance.

A light breeze could knock me over when I was first out of the boot. My body completely lost all of its muscle tone and the ability to call upon the right muscles to keep me upright. In addition to strength training and spending what feels like half my day standing on one leg, I’ve added yoga as a way to strengthen my stabilizer muscles and remind my core that I have two feet again. Yoga is a great way to improve muscle strength and balance. Also, it’s totally cool to fall over. People won’t even laugh at you. Trust me, I’ve done it.


5. Improve mobility.

Injuries often come from an imbalance or lack of mobility. Once you’re injured and recovering, forget it. Nothing will mess with your mobility like being immobilized for a length of time. But yoga can help you get it back and prevent future mobility-related injuries. A consistent practice can help you improve your flexibility and keep muscle tension at bay. Don’t forget that stretching should be pain free (but not as comfortable as just chillin’ on the couch) to get the benefits.


6. Relieve pain.

Yoga can help reduce chronic and acute pain. Recent studies have shown that it can help provide relief for chronic low back pain and improve mobility/function.


7. Reduce inflammation.

Inflammation can be a cruel reminder of an injury or a major road block to recovery. The good news is that yoga can help reduce inflammation, and the more you practice the more it helps.


8. Boost your mood.

I don’t know about you, but being injured for more than a year has not done good things for my mood. Yoga can help you shake the blues and increase your happiness. Yoga, walking outside, and general exercise have all helped keep me sane and relatively happy.


9. Help you sleep and improve recovery outside of class.

Yoga’s benefits carry over into other areas that are important to recovery. Thanks to its stress reducing capabilities and the physical movement, yoga can help you sleep better. Since your body heals while you sleep, you definitely don’t want to miss out.

Benefits of Yoga for Recovery – best yoga mat for sweaty practice

Things to consider

How to know when you’re ready to try yoga for recovery.

Ask your doctor or physical therapist before returning or starting yoga post injury/surgery. But don’t forget that even if they say you may be ready, you know best. I got the okay to try yoga a couple weeks ago, but my (unscientific) tests at home (downward facing dog without pain? Can I balance in crescent pose or warrior one without pain? Does standing on one leg make me cry?) all said I needed a bit more time.

If I hadn’t modified my yoga practice for months after my original injury, I still wouldn’t have gone back yet. It takes a lot of listening to what your body is alright with and what makes your injury worse. It also takes a great deal of experimentation and a willingness to problem solve in the middle of a flow class. (Keep an eye out for an upcoming post about my go-to modifications and substitutions.)

You can always ask your doctor or physical therapist for modifications. Even just knowing what type of activity or stretch my increase your pain can be helpful. Your teacher can also be really helpful.


Choose an experienced, certified teacher.

You want to work with someone who can understand the complexities of your recovery and not blindly encourage you to do poses that may make your injury or pain worse. Look for teachers who mention a focus on alignment and anatomy, certifications above 200 hours of training, and a background in sports or kinesiology if you have a sports injury.

Definitely talk to the yoga teacher before you start class. Let them know about your injury and limitations, and absolutely ask them questions you might have about making the class work for you. If they don’t know how to modify poses for you, don’t take their class!


Pick the right class for you.

My first class back was a restorative yoga class that was honestly 90 minutes of lying on the floor in different positions with a bolster. I thought I might lose my mind, especially when the instructor started playing the loudest crystal bowl (I left with my ears ringing like I left a rowdy rock concert), but it was a good place to start. Gentle yoga and yin yoga are also great for beginners or coming back from an injury. I have worked my way back into my favorite power yoga and flow classes, but I took my time getting here and I modify (and tape!) quite a bit. Start slow, gentle, and easy.


Make time.

Don’t even tell me you don’t have time for yoga. A recent study found that just 12 minutes of yoga a day is enough to reap the benefits. That’s less than the time it takes to watch trashy TV on Netflix.


Other helpful articles:

9 yoga poses to keep athletes injury-free – Yoga Journal

7 Great Yoga Poses for Recovery – Runner’s World