Yoga injuries on the rise

February 26, 2012

Injury, Yoga

A bit of background information and a short consumer’s clarification list can keep the yoga shopper safe with the maze of yoga flavors being offered today.

by Dr. Matthew J. Taylor — 

Yoga continues to grow by leaps and bounds in popularity. Now with LeBron James singing its virtues, yoga is sure to gain another new level of clientele. The upside of this popularity is that many people are being introduced to the benefits of yoga. The downside is that because yoga is an unregulated industry, anyone can claim to be a teacher and, therefore, the market has become a true caveat emptor (buyer beware) environment.

A bit of background information and a short consumer’s clarification list can keep the yoga shopper safe with the maze of yoga flavors being offered today.

In the United States, what has been branded as “yoga” in many cases is actually a Western modification of an ancient spiritual practice into an athletic workout. To have a “yoga back” or “yoga butt” is the new beauty standard.

A great majority of classes are designed to satisfy this market-driven desire. This often results in large classes where the teacher does not know the students and drives them through an intense series of unfamiliar movements with a hasty two-minute relaxation at the conclusion.

The average yoga student should seek a gentler, more basic class. Ideally, the instructor limits class size to fewer than 15 students and moves slowly through each new posture, offering guidance and modifications, as well as clearly stated precautions. Once the basics are learned, the student can then move on to more rigorous classes, but bear in mind that this kind of “progress” is not necessary to reap the benefits of yoga.

Yoga classes typically cost between $12 to $20 each. That adds up pretty fast, so as with any substantial consumer decision, shopping around with a list of buyer’s questions increases the odds of finding the right fit for the novice yogi. See the box at left for these questions.

Ultimately, using a little common sense, doing some pre-shopping and staying within one’s limits will create a safe entry into a healthy, life-long yoga practice.

Questions to ask before taking a yoga class

  • How long has the teacher been teaching?
  • How many years was he in training? Watch out for the weekend wonders.
  • Does she make hands-on corrections or adjustments during class? Accept only the lightest touch.
  • Does he take a personal history to learn about any limitations or precautions that may be indicated?

Can you speak to any of her current students about their experiences?

How many people are in the class?

Does the instructor walk around to give instruction, or does he stand in front doing his own yoga?

 

Matthew J. Taylor, Ph.D., is a physical and yoga therapist with a yoga-based clinic in Scottsdale, Ariz. He is immediate past president of the International Association of Yoga Therapists and an expert legal witness for yoga injuries. 480-699-4867 or www.matthewjtaylor.com.

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 29, Number 4, Aug/Sept 2010.

, , , , , , , ,
Web Analytics