How to deal with health problems in your yoga class.
I am going to start talking about physical health in the yoga studio. Most students will have some health problems happening, even if it is just tightness, discomfort, lack of flexibility or more complicated issues…
It is very hard for us, as teachers, to provide any kind of promise of healing. But we know that if we approach it properly, we might be able to help with some relief and through a regular practice, build the flexibility and strength of muscles and joints providing a much healthier structure to help many physical issues.
With time yoga will also help them improve their posture, which is the cause of many pains.
As yoga teachers we understand something that very few people do (even people in the health industry), that every body is different. We cannot have the same approach with all of our students that suffer from lower back pain. Some of them feel terrible in twists, some of the cannot backbend and some of the feel pain in forward bends… Same pain different bodies…
Paying attention to what one student can and cannot do is important, because then we can provide personal alternatives and variations to the poses in our class.
The students become more aware of their own bodies
Not only that but with practice, our students will become more aware of their own body (in my own experience this is one of the best physical benefits of yoga, body awareness). I say every class ‘feeling resistance is ok feeling pain is not; resistance is the natural response of your body to change’ and ‘remember to honor and respect your body during our class’.
Our students are the best judges of their own body. If they do not want and are afraid of getting into a pose, never, ever force them… they know better than you!
If they are suffering from an injury or have a diagnosed illness, it is important to ask the student to tell their health practitioner (chiropractor, doctor, myotherapist, physiotherapist, osteopath…), that they plan to start doing yoga, if it is ok and or what they can and cannot do. This way you will be able to offer safe alternatives and variations to the poses.
Make sure you know about the health of your students
Also, I have a registration form that every new student needs to fill out; it asks them about their own health but also has some small print about their bodies being their own responsibility and not the teacher’s.
About mental and emotional health.
It is also important for the student to be aware that yoga itself will not heal mental and emotional issues, however through meditation they could understand the mechanics of their own mind a lot better and find at least moments of peace and harmony…
Be careful with what you promise
I am always scared of promises… be very careful, we wish we could do it but the truth is: WE CAN’T!!!!
However we can alway talk about the benefits of an established yoga practise: better circulation, improves flexibility and strength, improves posture, boosts our immune system, improves your balance and gives you a better and happier and calmer approach to life.
Please share any insights on this subject, it is quite a long one, and I have a feeling that I have cut myself short on this one, we might approach it later on another post… Namaste.