As many people have probably already read, the New York Times published an article about the dangers of Yoga called How Yoga can wreck your body. Now, when I read this I was quite honestly upset because in the few months that I have been seriously trying to embrace all aspects of Yoga, I have seen a vast improvement in my mood, flexibility and over all feeling of well-being. But I also have an advantage over some people who might be trying Yoga for the first time as their first serious work out plan. I have been a dancer and I still consider myself an athlete. I was a pole vaulter in high school and college. This even made me become very away of my body placement and allowed me to learn and LISTEN to what my body was telling me. After all if my arm placements was wrong or if I was a half second off on an approach things could have gone horribly wrong.
But then I started thinking about people like my mother who are looking to get into shape and think that a lower level Yoga class could be the way for them to start stretching and getting their bodies going. People like my mother may not realize they are going to far too fast. They might not pick up on certain sensations or feeling their body is sending that are clear warning signs for injury. And many of today’s Yoga instructors for large Gym chains (if they are not volunteering from outside studios) may not have the training or the desire to help all levels of students. Yoga is not a one sized fits all kind of thing; just like many people would not get up and say I am going to learn how to Pole vault today. But America has made it so main stream and lost the actual teaching and theories behind why they do the poses or the importance of breathing and I feel that is why we see a spike in Yoga related injury.
Today (when I was looking around the internet clearly not studying like I should have been doing) I came across another article that I think would be a good read for Yogis at ALL levels who are not teaching themselves. The Huffington post published an article called 5 ways to tell if your Yoga teacher has a clue. It provided clear warning signs that your instructor has no idea what they are talking about. In this type of environment a new Yoga practitioner is the most at risk to injure themselves. So please share this article with friends neighbors or anyone you know who is interested in taking up Yoga. For example, This video really says it all; you know something is up if this girl is teaching your class:
Now if you are more advanced you can still injure your self but again its like any sport you take up. Remember to listen to what your body is telling you and don’t fight into a pose. Accept where your body is in that moment of your practice and don’t fight it.
I also want to say that there are many great yoga teachers out there who amazing and I have encountered some at large gyms that were great. But the fact is, sometimes you need to really question your teacher and if they are a true Yoga teacher they will love your questions about the practice and love to teach you modifications etc.
Have a great weekend!