I’ve been reading quite a bit lately about yoga and injury as well as running and injury.
It’s the poses. It’s the teachers.
It’s the shoes. It’s the surfaces.
It’s the weight.
It’s dynamic stretching. It’s too much stretching. It’s not stretching enough.
It’s quite rare if you take proper precautions. It’s way more common than we’re openly discussing.
It’s all overblown: just go out and have fun with it.
The opinions are sourced and unsourced, moderate and extreme, often confusing and conflicting. Even with my (admittedly fabulous) research and critical thinking skills, it’s sometimes difficult to know which ones to take with a grain of salt, which to take with many heaps of salt, and which to reject just about altogether.
Stay with me through the brain leap here —
I’ve also been riding horses for longer than I’ve been running or practicing yoga. So while I don’t get to ride now as often as I’d like, and while I’ve never raced (at least not in the sense discussed here though I have competed in speed events), I couldn’t help but read “Mangled Horses, Maimed Jockeys” at The New York Times. [Note: The first photo in the article contains a picture of a dead horse. The article itself repeatedly describes both human and equine injuries. Know before you click.]
And while I’ve learned that NYT sports/activity/injury/”Danger, Will Robinson!” articles are pretty susceptible to being sensationalized, I can also say that I’ve seen some of this with my own eyes. If 4-H riders are riding hard their injured, drugged project horses (that is, the horses who are supposed to help them demonstrate the progress they’ve made with good horsemanship over the year) often risking further injury to themselves, their horses, and other horses and riders in the ring — how difficult is it to imagine the same happening when the horses are a business and the stakes are higher?
Regardless of any difficulty I might be having with my choices, even if or when I’m making the wrong choices, I’m still fortunate to be able to choose. I can, as it were, “scratch” myself from any given activity: If something about this pose or that class or these shoes or those speeds don’t feel right to me on any given day, no one is forcing me to do them anyway. If I wanted to opt out of yoga or running forever just because, I could.
These horses don’t have that choice.