Sunday, January 22, 2012

Can Yoga Increase Your Risk of Injury?

If you didn't see the New York Times article about injuries from yoga, you should check it out. It has been a big controversy in the fitness community over the past few weeks. In a nutshell, the article presents the reader with the risks associated with yoga. Including but not limited to spine, knee and shoulder injuries, as well as certain positions putting students at risk for potential strokes.

Since I have been practicing yoga myself for 1-2 times per week, my clients have asked me for my opinion on the content of the article. I have to say I agree that there is significant risk when you take a yoga class, let alone a group exercise class. My position is that you are in fact in a GROUP exercise class. The instructors don't really know your body individually, so they shouldn't be adjusting you past your range of motion that you may or may not be able to achieve. We all have our limitations and usually we know what they are. For example, when I have trained someone, I know what they can and can't do. I understand what their limitations are because I have looked at their body using MAT (muscle activation techniques) and I am always keeping that in mind as we go through our workouts. However, we need to remember that is an individualized session (one on one), so it should be catered towards your personal needs.

So when my clients and friends ask me about taking a yoga (even pilates) classes, I tell them this: it is your responsibility when you take yoga (or any other classes) to say no or raise your hand at the beginning of class if you do not want to be adjusted. When you chose to take classes like that, you need to remember the one thing that it's about...leave your ego at the door! It's not what you do, but how you feel when you do it. Ask it making you stronger? Is it helping your balance? Are you challenged or are you overwhelmed with the thought of even getting into a pose? If you feel overwhelmed, then you should know what to do...try to come to terms with your physical limitations. If you feel like something is going to hurt or injure you, then it may be possible. You know your body the best!

And once again...leave your ego at the door. I do, and that's why I will keep doing yoga.


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