Saturday, June 21, 2008

I have a yoga rant today. Why are yoga classes so seldom both strong and safe? By "strong" I mean including poses that take strength to hold, and that are held for five or more long breaths, such that the class overall makes one sweat and improves muscle tone. Load-bearing exercise is important for women of all ages for late-life bone strength, and men seem to like these types of classes better because they include some poses that men are good at.

By "safe" I mean that dangerous poses, ones that can harm the wrists or back or knees, are not as frequent and come with careful instruction and warning, and the teacher explains how to do the pose safely and also explains who should not do the pose. Some of the things I hear from yoga teachers I consider "safe":
  • Push the base of the fingers down into the mat in poses that put weight on the wrist; this engages the muscles of the hand to protect the wrist.

  • Remember to flex the foot in poses that open the hip by using the whole leg as a lever (e.g. the "knee to ankle" pose). Again this activates the muscles that hold the joint solid, rather than stress the ligaments.

  • "If this hurts in this way, stop."

Instead, the normal tendency when teachers focus on yoga that doesn't hurt, is to make the whole class easier; while the tendency when building a class for advanced or strong students is to do dangerous poses without teaching how to do them safely.

Anyway, I do know a teacher, currently teaching, who excels at combining strength and safety, although I don't have a schedule that allows me to take her classes right now.

1 comment:

Jasmin said...


I've taken a class with her. She's FANTASTIC.

I love how she incorporates dance stuff into her classes, too. Drop me a line if you find time to go. :)

YIY is a GORGEOUS studio.

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