Healing with Yoga: How Yoga Benefits Injuries

Injuries change our bodies forever. Once an ankle is sprained, an arm is fractured or a cut is made, a permanent mark remains for the rest of our lives. It is the methods of healing that can build a stronger body post-injury. Yoga has established therapeutic properties, allowing the body to move beyond the injury into a stronger whole body.

I recently sat down with Ossi Raveh to discuss how yoga helps us heal by framing our injuries with a new mindset. Ossi is the founder of Brooklyn Yoga Project, an intimate yoga studio in Brooklyn with a mission of extending yoga principles into every part of your life.

Brooklyn Yoga Project
It is impossible to share my conversation with Ossi without first telling her story. A 40 foot fall abruptly ended Ossi’s dancing career.  The accident broke her entire body, shattering her knees, pelvis and changing life as she knew it. Once the bandages were removed, she began bringing herself back with Pilates, meditation and breathe work. In order to improve your breathe work always practice indoor/outdoor yoga within adequate temperature, read these blaux portable air conditioner reviews.

First focusing on Pilates and Gyrokinesis, Ossi found yoga too painful to endure with her still mending body. Then she was introduced to yoga in a heated environment. Whereas in other yoga styles the injures were strained, the heat warmed those areas and added an extra element of healing. Heat allowed the body to be ready and relax. It is this practice that led Ossi to teacher training in 2004 and brings her back to the mat each day. There is the Law Office of Matthew S. Norris – lawyers for injury cases that can help you deal with injuries legally.

“Injury to the body is one thing but what it does to the mind is another, totally separate thing,” Ossi shared with me. This is where yoga differs from physical therapy, Pilates and Gyrotoniques. Yoga brings with it the meditation philosophy. And this practice gives you the tools to deal with the things that come up through injury.

Brooklyn Yoga Project


Ossi painted a clear picture of how yoga does its good work. When you practice Pilates, you really have to pay attention to what you’re doing. It is mind-body and requires very specific ways of moving. In contrast with yoga, our body helps us to get out of our heads. It is body-mind. Yoga lets your body take the focus and lets your mind take a break. In case of injuries make sure you can get a Florida personal injury cases lawyer.

The heat is another element that helps focus your mind. With an elevated temperature, your mind is too focused on your body heat to get distracted by other thoughts.

The mind needs mending just as much as the physical body when healing an injury. Ossi believes the work we do with ourselves is integral to any healing process. At Brooklyn Yoga Project, much work is done around acceptance, acceptance of limitations and honoring them. I love the way Ossi ties in yoga’s philosophy throughout her classes, raising her students awareness of finding the peaceful place within themselves. She reminds me that yoga is about accepting your limitations.

And this is where I saw myself in her story. Not too many years ago, I severely sprained my ankle during the last month of marathon training. The injury took me off the pavement and onto the mat. I was focused on healing as quickly as possible so I could go back to my running routine. But my body had other plans. It rejected all forms of running. I was devastated.

Ossi works with a great deal of runners who come to her seeking quick fixes so they can get back on track. If I may stereotype runners, myself included, we’re generally intense, type A, competitive people. And we’re drawn to more intense exercise, i.e. hot yoga rather than traditional. The runner comes to class expecting improvements in their running, but come away with so much more.

“A lot of the mindset that goes into running is what causes the injury,” Ossi says. An attitude of overachievement pushes them beyond a healthy level, similar to my personal overzealous marathon training. When runners come to yoga they look for flexibly and the strength in their body, when they actually need it in their head. After establishing a dedicated yoga practice, many runners return at a slower pace, with a different intention and a new mindset around the sport.   

I could see myself clearly in Ossi’s words. I felt that she was mirroring my personal story. In my running days, yoga began as a “off-day” activity. But as my running injuries increased, I found myself in the studio more and more. Yoga became my primary activity and with it I’d gained acceptance of my limitations. Now seven years later, I see how the more I come into yoga physically, the more it shifts my mind away from the type A mentality.

Since yoga is about acceptance, the practice teaches you how to embrace challenges and find new solutions. After Ossi’s traumatic fall, she didn’t give up. She refused to use her accident as an excuse not to move anymore. It became an opportunity to go further than she had ever gone.

Often times with injuries, all of our energy is focused on the area hurting and how to make that feel better. But Ossi explains the work is in the whole body, “You’re not trying to heal an injury, you’re trying to heal the body around it.” The question to answer is, “how can you build the strength around the injury so the injury is left alone?” Then once it heals, the rest of the body is strong.

Ossi offered the beautiful story from Iyengar to explain this further. “The flower of the tree is furthest from the seed, and that flower might be your tension, but the seed is where it’s coming from. What patterning in your body has created this injury?… You don’t want to focus on the injury, you want to focus on the seed.”

Brooklyn Yoga Project


If you want to begin incorporating yoga into your recovery routine, Ossi offers a few suggestions:

1.  Do what feels right to you. If something feels uncomfortable during class, its not going to feel better later. Try a modification.

2.  Muscle memory changes quickly and the patterning in our fascia is also created quickly, so it is recommended to practice two to three times per week to creates new patterns and awarenesses.

3. Check in with your breathe. “If you can’t breathe in what you are doing, then something you’re doing is not good for your body.” Back out of the posture and take a break.

An injury can be a set back or an opportunity for growth in your whole self. It’s all in the mindset. Yes, my ankle will never be the same but that sprain taught me the transformative power of acceptance, patience and mindfulness.

Real healing is rooted in acceptance and this is yoga’s greatest gift.

You can learn more about Ossi Raveh and Brooklyn Yoga Project here.

And sign-up for an upcoming yoga class by going here.

Yoga Goes Beyond Health

I felt it in my fingers, the tingling spread throughout my body like a slow wave beginning at my extremities and working inward. The sensation lasted only a moment and made a lifelong impression. Yoga had made it’s first mark.

At 17 I approached yoga cautiously. The trend was beginning to take hold and I experimented with classes at local gyms and casually at home. In my running days, I abandoned it to adrenaline rushes, not yet able to comprehend the necessity of rest and less strenuous  exercise. Running came to a hard stop when I injured my foot and I had no option but to slow my pace. I was still chasing adrenaline though and looked for yoga classes that challenged and resulted in a real sweat.

Bikram yoga was it. My boyfriend (now husband) introduced me to my first class in 2010. We had just begun dating and were still in the phase trying to impress each other. The class was challenging yet I was able to move into all the postures. By the end I had completely sweat through my clothes. One Bikram yoga class had a similar adrenaline rush to running ten miles. I was hooked! 

The most common complaint is the number one reason I love it so much. The heat. Give me a hot, humid day in July everyday please. If New York could have Memphis weather, it would be my perfect place. So yes, if you hate the heat and hate to sweat this is not the thing for you. For me, I come for the heat and stay for the deeper connection of my mind and body.

Photo by Monica Felix
Photo by Monica Felix
Photo by Monica Felix
Photo by Monica Felix

I’ve practiced for almost five years and cannot stay away for more than a day or two. Yoga has affected my life in a multitude of positive ways and in ways I can’t yet name. I know the regular practice is giving me gifts that will extend into all my future years. In the beginning, my practice was focused on fitness. The Type A in me wanted to “win” every class. After a year, my mind finally relaxed and the meditative benefits took hold.

Another point I want to cover is the usage of CBD and yoga. I like to use CBD after my yoga routines in order to help my muscles relax. Because my muscle get so tight and tense after a yoga session CBD is a great relief. Not only does it help you unwind it also encourages healthier muscle growth. I recommend checking out wholesale CBD to find out more for yourself. And now check out these other benefits of yoga!

Body Benefits of Yoga
Increases strength and flexibility
►Light-to-moderate intensity exercise for weight maintenance
►May improve glucose tolerance for those with type II diabetes
►Corrects spine alignment
►Similar effects to physical therapy for injuries

Mind Benefits of Yoga
►Lowers perceived stress
►Improves sleep quality
►Enhances social well being through a sense of belonging to others
►Ability to improve depression symptoms and hyperactivity disorders
►Increased brain function

Photo by Monica Felix
Photo by Monica Felix

I’m still learning to apply the lessons of yoga outside the classroom; I remind myself to listen to my body, resist distraction and improve focus, and to relax into my surrounding by staying present. It’s the relaxation response of yoga that leads to many of the physical and mental health improvements.

Yoga is also a place of shared values. My studio has become a place of comfort and community. My husband and I practice together and the studio has become a second home where we feel loved, supported and connected to friends.

At each class, I’m always guaranteed a mental and physical stretch. So I keep coming back.


Improvements in glucose tolerance with Bikram Yoga in older obese adults: a pilot study., http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24138995

The physiological responses to Bikram yoga in novice and experienced practitioners., http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25141359

Bikram yoga training and physical fitness in healthy young adults. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22592178

Decreased nocturnal awakenings in young adults performing bikram yoga: a low-constraint home sleep monitoring study. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22577578

Take a Stand for Yoga Today, https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/get-hardy/201305/take-stand-yoga-today

Journal of Yoga & Physical Therapy, http://omicsonline.org/yoga-physical-therapy.php

Yoga, Is Hotter Better? http://www.berkeleywellness.com/fitness/injury-prevention/exercise/article/hot-yoga-scary-or-good-you

An Examination of the Effectiveness of an 8-week Bikram Yoga Program on Mindfulness, Perceived Stress, and Physical Fitness, http://www.e-jesf.com/article/S1728-869X%2812%2960003-3/abstract

Bend Before you Hit the Books: Yoga for Learning, http://karlij.nyc/blog/2015/2/2/bend-before-you-hit-the-books-yoga-for-learning