Yoga is growing in popularity every single day as one of the best ways to get in great physical shape and rejuvenate the mind and body. However, due to the physical demands of yoga, it is important for every yoga instructor to emphasize yoga student safety in all yoga classes.
Many yoga newbies make the assumption that yoga is easy and not as physically demanding on the body as other forms of exercise. Just because yoga students are not constantly jumping around and running in place certainly does not demonstrate the intense physical nature of yoga and how serious injury is very possible.
Sprains, bone spurs and nerve damage are just a few examples of how students can become injured when they do not practice yoga properly. While more severe injuries are not commonplace, they do happen. Luckily, there are some very easy steps that instructors can take to ensure safety in their classes.
The first thing an instructor must do is properly teach each yoga pose. In addition to simply demonstrating how to perform the exercise, instructors should always teach the proper way for the body to move and how far it should extend to prevent injury. Instructors should also teach warning signs of possible injury. Some students may not realize the difference in pain that comes from working hard and pain from pushing the body too hard.
It is a common practice for yoga instructors to personally assist their students with yoga poses. This is something that every yoga instructor should do to make sure students are performing poses as they should. This will help students to understand what position their body should be in when performing the pose. Obviously, yoga instructors cannot feel the pain that may be occurring with students during yoga poses and should never push students too hard. Yoga safety really begins with those who teach the instructors.
Another important aspect of teaching yoga safety with students is for the instructor to be familiar with their student's medical history. If students have existing injuries, certain yoga poses may cause further injury. If the class size is small enough, the instructor can more easily keep track of any history of injury with their students and can advise proper yoga poses throughout the class for individual students. In larger classes, the instructor should be aware of each pose and how it could aggravate injury. For example, if a certain yoga pose may be difficult for someone with a back injury, the yoga instructor should advise students as a group of such potential for injury.
Instructors should always be mindful of the fact that there will be students in their classes who are over-achievers. These students may push themselves a little harder than they should. Good instructors should closely watch all their students and intervene when they feel as though a student is pushing themselves beyond their limits.
Yoga student safety should be the first concern for every yoga instructor before each class begins. A well-educated instructor who has their student's best interest at heart will ensure a successful and safe yoga experience for everyone.