Monday, January 9, 2012

Is Yoga too risky?

Click on the title of this article to read a recent NY times article about yoga and injuries. I have heard more people talking about this article lately. I am not at all offended by the article and I think the author makes some valid points. We are all not meant to do all the crazy poses that are encompassed in "yoga". It my opinion yoga is the most powerful and amazing medicine for your body but I use the term yoga loosely. Yoga for me is not just the "workout" but yet the discipline, the wisdom, the energetic medicine, the teachings and yes the physical movements. With that said, you must always approach any physical activity with a respect for your body. We are all not created and put together the same (thank God) and so our bodies do not always welcome the shapes we may wish to create with our bodies. We also must respect the fact that the majority of us sit all day and exercise is a small fraction of the time we are awake. So knowing this why do we think that with enough will we can contort our bodies to ridiculous shapes without any respect for the fact that our bodies may not support this? That is why yoga teaches to leave the ego at the door when you enter a yoga class. That is also why yoga teaches to tune into the body the entire class and to feel and assess what is going on. We have to show "non-violence" to our bodies when they tell us "enough" and or "this is not intense this is painful". It is easy to get swept up in the moment and to just "endure" it because our goals are held so sacred and besides who wants to be a yoga wimp in front of the class?...who wants to modify when it would appear to look more sophisticated to contort and force our body to look like the slender bendy girl in the front row? Power yoga is the restraint to hold the power of our bodies wisdom over the egos grasp. It is hard but it is the only way our yoga will be therapy for us and not a pre-requisite for an ER visit.

The teacher I now study with, Lisa Mae Osborn really teaches us to think about our classes and the people in them and to teach poses that help the "general" public. There are some favorite poses of mine that I just will not teach anymore because I do not feel that the benefits to the few outweighs the risk to the many. I realize though that I cannot injury proof my classes to 100%. I just hope to educate my students on how to listen to what the true voice of their bodies are saying and to respect this amazing temple that we are given so that we can enjoy life.

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