I ♥ Yoga, But…

Thank you for all of your kind comments and feedback on yesterday’s BTAT guest blog by Obi-wan.

“I know you come from good stock and you prove it every day when you choose to live and not just exist!”

“This was awesome.”

“Too good not to pass along.”

“This was a wonderful post from your dad–great advice that I will heed should the injury monkey climb on my back one of these days!”

“So sweet that your Dad did this for you! Love it and the message it conveys!”

“Thanks, Obi-wan, for your wise words”

“Fantastic post, Obi-wan!!!”

He’s pretty awesome and I’m glad so many of you enjoyed reading little bit about his inspiring story. Maybe, if we ask nicely, he’ll come back? And maybe, if we say pretty please, Mrs. Obi-wan will share her story with us, too? You never know…onto today’s post!

Yogis, don’t hate me. I’m on your side and I’m here to help!

So, I love yoga. I feel good when I go to class. I like trying new teachers. I think everyone can benefit from some type of yoga.

I love yoga. Outdoors yoga is the BEST!

That said, if done incorrectly, yoga can really hurt you.

As a student of anatomy and physiology, I spend my time studying how the body moves, what movements cause injury, and how to help people recover and prevent these injuries. My job as a personal trainer requires that I coaching people through a series of exercises safely and effectively. And I’m kind of a stickler for form.

This is where I get into trouble in yoga class.

Some classes are absolutely amazing. The teachers are clear about the placement of every single part of your body and when to breathe and where to put your focus. They walk around, adjusting everyone constantly and encouraging people to work within their limits, not above them.

These are the classes I love.

Ooooo-mmmmm

I attended the opposite type of class on Monday. I hated every single moment of that class and almost walked out just to make a point. Why the negativity? Because it was just offensively bad.

In a class of about 50 or so people, I would say that at least 30 of them looked as though they had never been to a yoga class before. Not because of their bodies or anything superficial like that, but because of the confused looks on their faces, the constant turning around to see what others were doing, and the terrifyingly bad form they exhibited in the “simplest” of yoga poses.

It was unsafe, distracting, and inexcusable.

I felt bad for the students because it was the instructors’ fault they had bad form. He did not touch or adjust a single person. I was shocked.

William J. Broad wrote an article that was published in the New York Times last week (you saw it in Friday’s Fitness News) that people in the fitness world are fighting about all over the blogs and in yoga studios everywhere. It’s titled, “How Yoga Can Wreck Your Body.” In it, Broad interviews Glenn Black, a popular yoga instructor who is incredibly verbal about the physical dangers of yoga.

I must say that I completely agree with every single one of the dangers highlighted in the article and there are many, many more. I train yoga instructors and devotees and I help them to re-learn how to move through their asanas in a safe way. Several people I know have seriously injured themselves in class and spent years in physical therapy.

Form is everything. Yoga, like every other sport/fitness activity in the world, can cause you injury when done incorrectly. Yoga is good, when done safely and I encourage you to consider learning more about it, BUT if you are new to yoga do yourself a favor and do a few private lessons or very, very small beginner group classes before jumping into it, ok? Don’t push. Be safe.

Rule of thumb: If it hurts, don’t do it. Seriously. Listen to your body.

Now go out and run!