Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Yoga and Injury

I have mentioned before that I love yoga for it's slow, easy help in getting me back from several body injuries. That fact can't be diminished for me.

But I just read this very interesting article about how yoga could actually be causing injury (by the ways its currently practiced in the US). The article interviews Glenn Black, a practioner for four decades, who studied in India and believes in both the healing and potentially harmful aspects of yoga... *note its Glenn BLACK not the other Glenn B

"According to Black, a number of factors have converged to heighten the risk of practicing yoga. The biggest is the demographic shift in those who study it. Indian practitioners of yoga typically squatted and sat cross-legged in daily life, and yoga poses, or asanas, were an outgrowth of these postures. 

Now urbanites who sit in chairs all day walk into a studio a couple of times a week and strain to twist themselves into ever-more-difficult postures despite their lack of flexibility and other physical problems. Many come to yoga as a gentle alternative to vigorous sports or for rehabilitation for injuries. But yoga’s exploding popularity — the number of Americans doing yoga has risen from about 4 million in 2001 to what some estimate to be as many as 20 million in 2011 — means that there is now an abundance of studios where many teachers lack the deeper training necessary to recognize when students are headed toward injury. 

“Today many schools of yoga are just about pushing people,” Black said. “You can’t believe what’s going on — teachers jumping on people, pushing and pulling and saying, ‘You should be able to do this by now.’ It has to do with their egos.”'

(to counter, an article about yoga relieving chronic back pain.)

I do feel a disconnect with my fellow yogis when I go to class after class and I repeatedly revert to the mat for child's pose, while they forge ahead. I don't go into shoulder stands... but do I think, the neck injury was years ago, I should be there by now right? but according to the article, I shouldn't. 

I happen to have no flexibility in my hamstrings - so after about 5 1/2 years of practice, I still can't get my heals to touch the floor in downward facing dog. Sure with some stretching, I could force it, but I don't. I feel like this article now gives me my justification. I can take time with that.

To read this and only hear yoga is dangerous is severely missing the point. Its not dangerous. Its a safe exercise - even with the injuries noted - its more safe than most exercises. The point is that this is not to be a practice about ego and accomplishments. 

It is not about ego and accomplishments
It is not about ego and accomplishments

(I have to keep saying that because I watch this video and say dannng. I want to do what she can do...like, within the year)

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