Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Yoga - Be smart!

Over the weekend I ran across an article from the New York Times titled, "How Yoga Can Wreck Your Body" but William J. Broad.  Since I practice yoga at home and in class settings this sparked my interest.  While reading the article, I just kept thinking people be smart.  I do not agree with the article; I see very little research to back up the authors claims.  However, going to a few classes last week I witnessed students being plain dumb and the size class was so large that the teacher could not possibly stop the stupidity. (The problem was persons doing poses with improper form and no foundation; my thoughts during the class was someone was going to get hurt.)  I am sure it has to do with many all the new persons wanting to try yoga in the new year.  Great, love to see it but stop being stupid.  Since reading the article and after the displays last week; I have a few opinions & hopefully ways for us to be safe while practicing yoga.

  1. Start yoga with a beginner class or private lessons with a reputable teacher. Ask friends. Do your research.
  2. Find the right class.  What is the teachers experience?  How many students are in the class?  Do they do individual corrections to help with proper alignment?  Do you mind them touching you to help with a correction?  Do they ask if you have any existing or previous injuries?  How do you learn? (Visual, Verbal)
  3. Know your limit in the poses, leave your ego at the door.  Most poses have alterations for those that can not do a pose without proper alignment.  For example my bulging disk causes me to do most of the bends with my feet hip distance apart. 
  4. Use props, they are there to help you out.  Get a block.
  5. Set your intention at the beginning of the practice.  I always set my intention at the beginning of the class as: use for opening hips, stay in the moment, relax into the movements, do not to push anything; by doing this I take away my competitive nature and enjoy the class.
  6. Inversions, personally I do not like inversions other than legs up the wall.  Whenever a class is doing inversions, I lay with my legs up the wall.  Am I missing out?  Maybe, but I know my limit.  I am a klutz I have enough issues on my legs.  
I believe that yoga is a great activity when done properly but as with any other physical activity there are inherent risks.  The participant needs to make the decision if there are more rewards for the given risks.  I would love to see data of injuries of team sports, endurance sports, weight training and yoga.

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