Over the past 10 years yoga has taken on a level of popularity that’s both awe-inspiring and deeply concerning.
According to the article “What’s Happened to Yoga?” in the February issue of Organic Spa Magazine:
“The explosion of intense yoga classes has coincided with an increase in injuries … In 2000, about a dozen yoga injuries were reported in the country. Over the next 10 years,that number grew to more than 7,000.”
In this article, hot and power yoga seem to take the brunt of the blame but I believe the biggest reason for this outbreak of yoga-related injuries is the result of a combination of poorly trained instructors who have too often taken their trainings over a matter of only a few days or weeks, mixed with our drive as a society to “Push yourself harder, go deeper!”
In one popular style of hot yoga — yes, it starts with a “B” — students are bullied and shamed by instructors who are trained to follow a script, rather than see the student as the individual they are. God forbid the student dares to take an unscheduled water break, child’s pose or, heaven forbid, needs to leave the room to cool down a bit. The results can prove devastating, which you’ll discover in the article.
I honestly feel for studio owners in this growing business of yoga — they’re under constant pressure to “give the people what they want” and create new and exciting trends. One such trend has participants balancing off of anothe “inexperience”‘ student’s feet — as if they’re trying out for a Cirque du Soleil performance.
Yes, yoga is definitely a booming market and anyone who tells you that “there’s no competition in yoga” has clearly gone into such a deep backbend that they’ve managed to stick their head into the place my mother used to refer to as “where the sun don’t shine.”
Yoga is all but unrecognizable from the original intention of teaching you to tune into your breath and be in the present moment. There are as many styles of yoga to choose from as there are Bendy-Wendy instructors teaching them.
Does all this mean if you want to prevent injury you should just relegate yourself to sitting on the sofa, remote in hand, sipping on a beer and eating Doritos? Certainly not.
The truth is: nothing prepares you for yoga … but yoga prepares you for everything. For instance, yoga can prepare you for riding a bike or running with more awareness, increased flexibility and strength. But running won’t prepare you for yoga — not ever!
The key is finding a studio and well-trained instructor(s) who offer a variety of styles –variety is, after all, the spice of life. Mix it up a bit by attending different classes and you’ll keep your muscles guessing, versus doing the same old routine and reaching a plateau. Mixing it up also allows you to find a style that really rings your bell, something you’ll actually be excited to do — rather than showing up on your mat once a week as a chore.
Find an instructor who isn’t there to entertain you with trick-dicky moves only they and perhaps a few other Bendy Wendy’s can do, but is a teacher who is committed to your safety and growth as a person — not only physically but on an emotional and spiritual level as well. It won’t necessarily be easy to find one of these teachers in a world that’s pumping out instructors at such a dizzying pace, but when it comes to preventing what can end up being long-term injuries it most certainly will be worth the hunt!