This is an interesting article written by William Broad that brings up many great points. See more…http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/08/magazine/how-yoga-can-wreck-your-body.html He mentions a a variety of injuries that have happened to students and yoga practitioners. He quotes statements from a well know yoga practitioner named Glenn Black in regards to how injuries occur and how yoga can be practiced safely. Here are a few that illustrate great points. Black said, Not just students but celebrated teachers injure themselves in droves because most have underlying physical weaknesses or problems that make serious injury all but inevitable. Instead of doing yoga, “they need to be doing a specific range of motions for articulation, for organ condition,” he said, to strengthen weak parts of the body. “Yoga is for people in good physical condition. Or it can be used therapeutically. It’s controversial to say, but it really shouldn’t be used for a general class.” “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.” When yoga teachers come to him for bodywork after suffering major traumas, Black tells them, “Don’t do yoga.” “The whole point of yoga is to get rid of ego.”
I believe the principles brought up in this article apply to not just Yoga but multiple activities including Cross Fit, running, Pilates, and even physical therapy. Exercise and movement is a good thing and is something we all need on a regular basis for physical and mental health. I would argue the benefits far outweigh the risks. That having been said the key elements to being successful, is first being aware of what is a good choice for your body. If you are naturally very mobile then Yoga may not be your best fit, but rather, something that will improve your strength such as Pilates or weight training. Exercise done at too high of intensity, too long, with poor form/technique, and or performed at a level that is beyond your current level of fitness will increase your risk of an injury. When your body is functioning well in regards to mobility, strength, endurance, coordination, and balance the more enjoyable the activity will be and your chance of being hurt reduced.
My advice is to first know your body in regards to how it is currently functioning. Physical Therapy can help in this aim. Find out what your particular variables are in regards strengths and weakness, then work to improve them. Second, with the help of your therapist pick an activity that is a good choice for you. Third, take time to learn the basics and focus on developing good form from the onset. This will pay big dividends later! Lastly, start out at a level that is appropriate for your current level of function and degree of fitness, then progress slowly. Knowing your body, making good choices, leaving your ego at home, and progressing slowly are all keys to getting the most out of fitness program and thriving in life!
If you want to find out how your body is currently functioning and what might be a good exercise choice for you we can help! Give us a call today at 804 320-2220.