Thursday, December 6, 2012


A few days ago I posted a quote from Thomas Kurz' blog regarding how to address an injury.

You can click through to read the article, called Groin Pain, or On Athletes, Pain, and Discipline.

(His book Stretching Scientifically, is one of the best on flexibility I've ever read.)

I've paraphrased and applied some of his words to specifically to an Ashtanga practice.

Non-[yogis] need discipline to keep working out; [yogis] need discipline to stop.

"Groin pain happens. It happened to one [yogi] ... who then asked me for advice on dealing with it.

[Yogis], and especially [Ashtanga yogis], have high pain thresholds and high internal motivation. Those two traits combined make [yogis] vulnerable to self-inflicted chronic injuries—near certain if the [yogis] and those directing their [practice] proceed oblivious to the signs of trauma.

Anyway, here is the [yogi's] question on dealing with his groin pain and then my advice, which applies to any pain:

Since a few months I am afflicted with pubalgia, a pain inside my groin tendons, a sort of inflammation of the inner right adductor and the inner low corner of my right abdominal muscles. I think it is beginning to heal during these last days. In those months when I felt the pain, I did fewer and fewer side splits, while continuing to do front splits and some easy early morning stretching. But I want to resume my usual [practice] with no pain anymore.

I would like you to advise me what to avoid and what to do to solve my problem. Probably I could find the answer reading articles on your website but I need prompt advice from the source. I didn’t go to a physician because generally they say to cease any exercise, do an X-ray, then therapy, but I cannot stop [practice].


It was an error to continue doing any splits and dynamic stretches (early morning stretching) when feeling pain in your groin. You could have gotten a hernia and adductor strain. Doing splits and dynamic stretches kept irritating the inflamed tissues of your lower abdomen and inner thigh and made them weaker. You can hope it has not made them weaker permanently, but only postponed your healing. Here is my advice:

1. Do not do any [asana] that gives you any feeling in the injured side that is different from the uninjured side. 

When you have been injured, any [asana] that is not approved by a physician treating your injury, any [asana] that causes you even the lightest pain or an abnormal feeling, sets you back by weeks or months from the full recovery. It may even keep you from ever recovering. 

If you would like to never regain your full ability, all you have to do is to keep [practicing] through discomfort. Stopping [practice] and following a proper injury treatment and rehabilitation program takes discipline.