When you walk into any gym setting you may assume some inherent risk of bodily injury. Intuitively you may steer clear of certain areas like the squat rack or other areas that the hulking muscle-heads of your gym have their grunt fests. This may lead you to seek out a fortress of safety in your nearest yoga class, comfortably surrounded by a pastel sea of lululemon. A haven led by a qualified instructor who will teach you about the workings of inner peace and raw juicing.
What if I told you (as a fitness expert with nearly two decades of experience) that this setting may be the most dangerous place in the gym? Before you write me off as being batshit crazy and click on to the next fitness related post…keep reading. This just might save you months of recovery, physical therapy, and ongoing rehab.
In my practice as a CPT and stretching practitioner I have seen a conveyor belt of well intentioned individuals come to me for help after of all things…yoga injuries. That’s right…yoga. Not always weights or sports related injury or car accidents. The recent majority has been from yoga.
Before you get those lulu’s in a wad, hear me out. This is NOT the yoga instructor’s fault. I have not once seen an instructor that yelled at their students to get into a particular pose. They are generally very mindful about requesting that the students listen to their body, do the poses only when ready, or substitute poses entirely to show compassion to healing or past injuries.
So what could it be??
It’s YOU. That’s right. You. The You that insists that your Downward Dog be more downward than the person next to you. That part of you that knows your shoulders aren’t quite ready for that Chaturanga but you push through it anyway because everyone else is. Or perhaps you saw your neighbors Pigeon and were determined to get that stubborn right hip of yours to finally look like the spandex clad pigeon next to you.
And then all of the stories come to me in the same format. “Cynthia, I was in yoga and I did the _______ pose and my ________ hasn’t stopped hurting since.” To which my reply is generally, “were you focusing on your own practice or looking at your neighbors pose?” Well, you know the answer. How do you prevent this? Easy. Just as in life, when you lose sight of YOU and the present moment and start comparing yourself to those around you, you WILL get hurt. Redirect that misguided energy back on you, your goals, your well being, and your health. And as always, if you have any questions or need help getting back into your practice…I’m here.