I write an article about Yoga in my local newspaper, the Stanly News and Press. Here is my latest:
In a recent New York Times article titled “How Yoga Can Wreck Your Body”, William J. Broad discusses the dangers of injury through Yoga. When someone sent this article to me, my first thought was “Oh no!” But as I read it, I found myself agreeing with much of his point.
Broad tells of teachers and students who have experienced injuries due to taking their egos with them on their mats. I try to remind my students regularly that Yoga is not a competitive activity and if you are a naturally competitive person, please use this time to let that go and work on listening to your body.
Our American culture seems to scream that more is better, but when it comes to physical activities that we hope to maintain and sustain our good health, I don’t believe that is a good philosophy. I fell in love with Yoga because it was the first exercise that I felt I could do for the rest of my life. I was lucky because I found teachers who stressed safety and modifications and who did not push me to find my limits, but encouraged me to become more mindful and aware of my body’s abilities and limitations.
We do not say that we “do Yoga”, we say that we “practice Yoga”. This means that it is something we study regularly with the knowledge that we will have to adapt our poses and our practice at different times in our lives.
I see pictures of people in amazing poses and I have to admit that I am impressed. But I can also honestly say that I know that I will probably never practice or master those types of poses and that does not bother me one bit. I practice Yoga for my health, not because I want to perform in Cirque de Soleil or make it into Yoga Journal magazine.
I, too, have experienced pain and injury through Yoga. These things happened from overuse or pushing too hard when I was not warm enough to demonstrate a difficult pose in class. I should know better, but life is a process and those injuries have taught me valuable lessons about myself.
If Yoga is a part of your life, remember to listen to your body, always move slowly and mindfully through your poses and never concern yourself with what someone else looks like in a pose. “Know thyself.”