Utthita Parsvakonasana to reduce injuriesBy Kimaya Singh

Yoga can be a great way for someone to recover from a variety of painful and debilitating injuries, such as pulled muscles, torn ligaments, and broken bones. The gentle, low-impact movements of yoga can help strengthen muscles, soothe the mind, regain full use of limbs, and reduce overall pain. However the practice, if done incorrectly, can exacerbate current injuries and even lead to new ones. It is all too easy for an inexperienced yoga practitioner to push him or herself too far or get into a pose incorrectly. As a yoga teacher, it’s important to stay up-to-date on how to prevent student injuries in the classroom. There are many continuing education options for this topic, and they can help any yoga instructor avoid having student injuries occur in their classes.

Looking Deeper

Although yoga is generally considered a gentle, competition-free activity, it can be all too easy for beginners to come into the class and try to force their bodies into the same poses as veteran students. Unfortunately, these students may be coming in with no yoga experience, limited flexibility, or little muscle strength. By forcing themselves into these positions, they can easily pull muscles or strain ligaments. As a teacher, it is up to you to address these new students when they come into your classroom. Speaking to new students privately and explaining that there is no pressure to do a pose perfectly or to the same extent that another student is reaching can prevent injuries. Make sure they understand that the flexibility will come with time, and make them aware of the dangers of trying to extend themselves past their personal limits. Ensuring that new students don’t feel any pressure to look perfect will cut down on student injuries and it will help beginners have a positive learning experience in your yoga class. Continuing education courses geared towards working with beginners can help you be prepared to deal with yoga novices in your class so you to prevent some of the more common injuries.

Class Procedure

As a yoga instructor, it is also important to monitor all of your students during the class, no matter what their experience level is. Even advanced students can get injured during certain poses. This is especially true for the more advanced poses, such as inversions and backbends. During these poses, watch students and see if anyone is struggling. If someone is unable to get into a pose or if they appear to be in pain, intervene immediately. This is an important role as a yoga instructor. You can help your students learn the correct way to get into the pose by making adjustments to their body or by offering props to make the pose easier. Yoga blocks, straps, and bolsters can be helpful tools to have to help beginning students or less flexible students safely get into a pose. Continuing education classes that teach you how to implement these tools into your class may help you feel more comfortable offering them to your students. These workshops can also help you recognize when a student is struggling or if they are in pain during a certain pose so you can offer assistance.

Remaining Current

Yoga is a wonderful practice for people from all walks of life, but without a great, knowledgeable teacher, students can become frustrated with injuries that cause joint pain, muscle strains, stiffness, and more. If you are a yoga teacher, make sure you are prepared to deal with the possibility of injury by educating yourself with continuing education workshops and courses. Learning how to prevent injury, what injuries are possible in the classroom, and how to treat yoga injuries are all-important factors of being an excellent, well-rounded yoga instructor for any type of the practice.

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