Interesting article in the New York times for the yogis out there.
Interesting article in the New York times for the yogis out there.
Interesting, thanks for the link
I read that a few days ago... but, my feeling is that ANY activity can be dangerous when it's approached from a place of ego and competition and when people don't heed their body's warning signs.
If you hurt but don't stop, if you push too hard - in running, weightlifting, yoga, stretching - ANY activity - you can and probably will get hurt. If you're determined to hit a deadlift PR and you know your form is deteriorating and you keep going... If you're determined to finish a marathon and you pull a muscle or feel pain but keep running on it... If you're determined to hold a headstand longer even though you start to feel dizzy... it's all a variation of the same theme.
Originally Posted by "Bytsi":zx605glz
Exactly. Any physical activity can cause harm if not done properly. And an asana practice is no exception. Of COURSE you can hurt yourself during yoga--why would it be any exception?
I think part of the problem is the students and part of the problem is the teachers. Lots of Westerners who attend yoga classes let their ego or their competitive nature take over and they do things that they're not ready for.
Also, there are many teachers out there who go through a 200 hour class and then stand at the front of the class and teach and give students adjustments. In my opinion they are in no way qualified to teach a class yet and shouldn't be laying a hand on students. Beginners aren't really knowledgeable enough to know how to pick a teacher or how their teacher is doing them any disservice by teaching a 'generic' class and this puts them at a big disadvantage and sometimes at risk for injury.
this article was not about beginners who got injured or 200 hour wonder teachers who don't know what they are doing. it was about very advanced people apparently with up to decades of experience who were violating their bodies by continual abuse.
if you go to some hot box yoga to get out the "toxins" (whatever the hell those are), and wind up deforming your tendons, you're screwed. If you stand on your head and wind up stroking out your cerebellum you're screwed. I'm not sure its about ego or competition or "knowing" your body either. I think its about the inherent instability of forcing stretches and poses beyond normal range of motion. I just went to youtube to review how to do the extended side angle pose and included in the instruction are variations in how to get a "deeper stretch". This is the pose that blew out the disks in the author's spine. It is a very simple looking pose, not aggressive or dangerous looking at all. There is absolutely no training in what is too much. In fact the authorative impression in the video is more is better. If you blow out your disks you're screwed no matter how much you try to rationalize it. One day you were good and the next day the universe changed.
to quote the article: "In India, he recalled, a yogi came to study at Iyengar's school and threw himself into a spinal twist. Black said he watched in disbelief as three of the man's ribs gave way "” pop, pop, pop."
I saw that article the other day. I'm glad you linked it over here. As a fairly recent convert to yoga (at least that's what I call what I'm doing), I always thought I was inbounds saying, "Yoga is safe and can benefit anyone". Just another example that people can turn anything into being dangerous and unhealthy.
Btw, my 1st venture into bodyweight style of exercising, came via Matt Furey (yes, I used to be one of his disciples. I was an Inner Circle man). I used to completely believe that doing his back bridges (feet flat, nose touching the ground) was the fountain of youth. I never got hurt doing them, but I don't do them anymore. I'm not so sure that they're a good idea anymore. Doing a 1,000 Hindu squats a day (or whatever), probably isn't a great idea for your knees either. I still like Hindu pushups (and divebomber pushups) tho.
I think this just supports my argument of "Moderation in everything". Too much of anything is unhealthy, and a little bit of poison probably won't kill you.
This.Originally Posted by "Bytsi":1xqocrxm
Any fitness activity can be, through ego, turned into a Crossfit-like disaster.
20 years of yoga has not killed me yet. Mahler echoes what I was thinking last night. Any exercise can be dangerous. In yoga if do not balance strength with flexibility, yes you will be hurt and if you already have a lot of flexibility you really need to watch it and set boundaries.
Agreed, though I think that the dangers are important to emphasize regardless.Originally Posted by "Bytsi":2gl7fsnj
There seems to be a general belief that yoga is fool-proof, and good for you no matter what! While we're aware of the dangers of weight-lifting and thus approach it with caution (ie good form etc), there doesn't seem to be the same body of knowledge of appropriate caution out there for yoga practitioners. (Not saying that way too large a % of the weight-lifting world doesn't lift in a dangerous and wrong way either, just that many of us know better).
I did manage to mess up my back pretty good doing yoga about a decade ago, all while under the watchful eye of a trained instructor. I think the onus is on the student to stay safe, therefore the knowledge of the dangers needs to be spread so that students will know better.
I am reminded of a "Biggest Loser" episode that featured the contestants doing yoga. It was painful watching them try to do even the most basic poses. I suppose someone at the show decided there was entertainment value in watching them try.
I think most students get hurt because they walk into a class and try to keep up with those that are more advanced than they are. There is a limit that needs to be respected with how far one can stretch and what each individual should be doing. Respecting that limit is key. I heard one yoga teacher once go, 'breath thru the pain" I rolled up my mat and left that class.
I've trained Yoga teachers so messed up from years doing bad things to their lumbar spine and wrists that they could not do a pushup without having a back spasm.
Learn improper movement patterns and stress your joints too much too often and your body will eventually let you know.
Have you read the comments on the NYT site? Lots of people married to the dogma saying things like "I've done yoga and haven't been injured so this article is wrong."
The same can be applied to bobybuilding, zumba, you name it.
Each person has to learn what they should and shouldn't do, and this should ideally be done by a competent instructor - figuring out who is and isn't good is often the problem.
Maybe if yoga teachers, pilates, personal trainers and the segment that probably injurs more people than the others combined -> group fitness class instructors etc... had to be licensed there would be some measure of weeding out bad ones.
I think the takeaway should be that even yoga can be bad for us. Many people think it's safe, foolproof, and that one should be doing it for optimal health, mobility, flexibility, etc.
I've been to three classes, and I was lucky that the teacher said many times:
if it hurts at all, don't do it
move gently and stop before it hurts
this class might not be for you
if you have to force it, it's not ready
that last one might have been my dad when I was a toddler, but it stuck with me, nonetheless.
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I've had teachers like yours, Roland, and they are a joy. The ones who say "even if you just stay in child's pose and breathe, you are doing yoga." The ones who say "whatever you are capable of today is exactly right for you - even if it's not the same thing you could do yesterday or last week."Originally Posted by "Lost Dog":sxk2dpr3
I've been lucky to have (mostly) teachers who say it's ok to back off, that it can be a challenge (especially for type A's) to NOT try the hardest version and that can be our goal for the day.
I also had one teacher who tried to "help" me in bridge and I thought she would break my rib before I yelped loudly. Now I've learned to say "I can't go farther" if they try to contort my body - sadly, not every student or teacher knows when to stop - and that applies to ANY mode of exercise.
I'm not sure its the trainer/teacher that counts when you are attempting to push the biomechanics well beyond normal range of motion. ROM is protective. Hypermobility is not. If a teacher teaches you anything I would think respecting this would be very close to the top of the list. Old Mr Injury could care less what the mode of perversion is.
P.S. There's a lot more risk when you don't do anything physical.
Geralyn Cooper-Smith, quoted in that article, is a smart cookie.Originally Posted by "Bytsi":3b7szdjb
I Love that yoga teacher's quote about how yoga isn't a fad like pilates... hahaha let the flame war begin!
You can cut it any way you want - most people will ignore pain hoping (blindly) that the same activity causing the pain is the one that will cure it. Go figure.
We still don't know what type of exercise and how much is healthy. We work with guesstimates. Luckily, most of us who practice have some relative idea of safe boundaries and use testing to find out what their clients need. I rarely clear people to just ''do yoga''. I will assign specific things done in specific ways for that specific person at the time...and I am still making my best hypothesis. It's plain ridiculous to compare one system to another and flame each other - it's all relative to the person, the day, the hour, the goal.
If there is anything good that came out of this article, the ''don't run'' articles, etc, is that at least it raises some awareness. You can't just go out there and run, or start yoga and be sure you are doing good, or do excessive yoga...why? because it will make you feel excessively awesome? Because you will attain a level of inner peace only a crazy range of motion back bend will give you? C'mon. I have been doing yoga for years, but I am not kidding myself.
Same thing with running: we live in an area with many runners - I have to close my eyes every time - we probably see 1 every two weeks that should be out there at all. Will more running make you a better runner? Don't think so.
Originally Posted by "galya":2q085o04