Yes that’s right. Yoga is dangerous. Not that is the first thing on folk’s minds when they enter the class for “gentle relaxation”.
You see the average punter rocks up to class thinking that what could go wrong in a gentle class of yoga where the class starts with the sounds of OM and often blissful yogi music is played in the background. The yoga teacher starts off well enough with some gentle cat cow and some sun salutations and then progressively the class becomes more dynamic until the teacher reaches the point when he or she wishes to take the class through something more challenging… All this sounds well and good except the average class is full of people with mixed abilities.. from those very fresh into the scene to the advanced yogis who have been standing on their heads and putting legs around their heads since time began. Herein lies the problem.
The other day I was in a class and before long the teacher tried to show us an advanced pose. He seemed to be struggling himself but managed to elevate his legs whilst resting on his hands in a reverse position under his stomach. Piece of cake one said.. notwithstanding I could obviously see that even our glorious teacher found the pose quite difficult as well. So I tried as well and lo and behold, I couldn’t quite do it either. Luckily, my partner was in the class next to me who pointed out that my back was in a v-shape. I quickly decided that pose was not for me.
And here’s my point – yoga classes (and Pilates too – in fact, they are the worst offenders as trainers love to go out of their way to PUNISH students), without proper attention and focus, some poses can be rather than beneficial to your health, be actually detrimental. Classes are often too big for the teacher to be watching carefully the students, even less so if they are doing the pose themselves! To this extent, private tuition I feel is the optimal way, but not necessarily practical (and costly..).
To this end, I went to my first Pilates PT session to get ready for my up coming ski trip but also look at some underlying neck pain I have been having. Having first hand someone to watch and correct you is the safest and most useful time spent on the mat (or reformer) as the case may be – I can already feel the difference.
So my thought for the day is that whilst yoga and other more physical therapies and exercises can be extraordinarily beneficial, they can actually cause harm if done in the wrong way. Never feel like you have to keep up with your fellow yogi who is on the mat next to you – these pursuits are not meant to be competitive, and worse still, just trying to do something or push yourself that little bit harder could result in a nasty injury. So be careful out there – may the yogi force be with you.