Stretching for Safety

Due to this strong interest in yoga many clubs are seeing large classes with as many as 50 or more students per class. On one hand this is good for business and satisfying for the instructors. On the other hand it makes it hard for a teacher to see each student and make sure that everyone is properly following instructions.

Rising to meet this increasing demand for yoga, many teacher-training programs have sprung up. Like personal training certifications, some programs offer quality training while others leave a lot to be desired. Consider the fact that “yoga teacher certification” programs vary from as little as one weekend to as much as three years. This means that some teachers are well prepared while others don't have the training and experience needed to be safe and effective.

LEARNING CURVE

Although yoga has been around for more than 5,000 years it is still fairly new in the West; introduced approximately 100 years ago and only gaining strong awareness here in the last few years. Originally, yoga was developed as a spiritual practice. Many of us in the West have been good at deleting much of the spiritual practice and have embraced the physical aspects of yoga in an effort to turn it into a form of exercise. Additionally, we are seeing a host of new yoga hybrids popping up that combine various forms or exercise or dance. So students as well as health clubs and even some teachers are trying to figure out exactly what yoga is and how it fits into our lives. Not knowing exactly what to make of yoga many people attack yoga as a competitive sport — no pain, no gain. Of course, all this sets the stage for injury, which is ironic because one of the basic philosophies of yoga is “ahimsa” or non-violence. This includes not being violent with ourselves.

INSTILLING PEACE

If you offer yoga classes at your facility or are planning to do so, there a number of specific things you can do to minimize yoga injuries and assure safer classes.

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