Saturday, June 1, 2013

The Key to Preventing Yoga Injuries? Better Professional Standards.

Do you ask permission before you give a "hands-on" assist?
by Kellie Adkins, MSc, E-RYT-500

Preventing yoga injury is of crucial importance and as yoga instructors, it is our responsibility to create a safe environment in which the practice of yoga takes place. However, the profession of yoga instruction is largely a group of independent specialists with few overarching professional practices or procedures for efficacious instruction. While this charming blend of stylistic innovation, lineage-based teaching, and psycho-spiritual-physical practices together give yoga such a broad therapeutic range, it is also the yoga industry’s Achilles heel.

Our job as yoga instructors is further complicated by the variation in how independent studios, gyms, health clubs, and healing centers are operated and whether or not we teach jam-packed group classes, small group, mixed level, or private classes. Where and how the class is marketed {i.e., a power yoga class v. a gentle class}, students’ ignorance about what postures they are healthy enough for and capable to perform, teachers’ ignorance about contraindications, and the lack of regularity between teaching venues {studios, gyms, health clubs} about how to collect health information on students and how to disseminate that information to instructors all create a perfect storm for yoga-based injuries.