“You fractured your toe.”

I stubbed my toe so hard by accident at the end of our second week that I fractured it. When it happened, all I could think of at the time was how I was going to sit for my practical exam with a fractured toe. I dragged myself (literally) to get an X-ray the following day and sure enough, I was given one-week MC and was advised not to participate in any physical activities for six weeks to allow the healing of the fracture. My little left toe is now immobilised for six weeks. Though I was disheartened, I informed and assured Master Sree that I would still be attending my lessons because there are other ways I could participate and learn. He agreed and reminded me that some things are not meant to be. Maybe I am not meant to sit for my practical exam this week. The doctor said the estimated time to heal my fractured toe was six weeks. Maybe I am meant to sit for the practical only after.

Now that I am not physically participating, I got to thoroughly observe the class in all its (sweaty) glory. I took this as golden time; an opportunity for me to hone my senses. It’s a different experience to simply observe. In the previous weeks, I focused on being a student and working on my own body, my postures, and alignments, but my focus has since shifted from me to others. Regardless of the fractured toe, my third week turned out a blessing because I got to be a sponge and soak up my surroundings. I learned how each body and student is different. I picked up messages from their body language and discerned what they were feeling. I noticed the common mistakes for alignments and little things like a change in breathing and facial expressions. I soon realised that all bodies are yoga bodies. Your yoga is still yoga if you need props or you take modifications and variations. The core is in practice and patience because flexibility and strength can be worked on. Over time, the body will learn to gain strength and flexibility. I took the time to study Master Sree as a teacher too. I paid attention to how he gave variations for students who weren’t as flexible. He assisted my classmates by suggesting the use of a strap or sitting on a towel to get into certain asanas. I was thoroughly impressed at how he was training them according to the poses that they struggle with. While he entrusts one to a Sirsasana because she’s good at her core, he trains another in her Chaturanga to work on her arms. It clearly showed me that as a teacher, he studied his students – their strengths and weaknesses, their behaviour and idiosyncrasies, knowing what they’re lacking in and assisting in that. He ensures his students were growing in their own way, all while working within their limits. In practice, I tend to mainly focus on myself but this sitting out ‘experience’ has helped me in knowing what to look out for – student, teacher, and teaching-wise.

Fractured toe. Tragic? I think not. 🙂