Is Yoga Safe? A Yogi's Response to New York Times Book, 'The Science of Yoga'

MIAMI BEACH, Fla., Feb. 29, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- The new book "Science of Yoga" is sparking a viral debate about yoga safety and training yoga teachers.

"Yoga, when studied in its purest essence, is a spiritual practice created to heal, balance and prepare the body for meditation," said Dashama, founder of Pranashama Yoga Institute, Global 30 Day Yoga Challenge and Perfect 10 Lifestyle. Dashama is an innovator in the field of yoga, mind/body transformation and healing. After healing her own spine from several car accidents, she developed Pranashama Yoga and the Prasha Method. Her personal approach to yoga as a lifestyle and life path to healing, awakening to more joy, love and abundance on all levels is unique and highly sought after. A creative dynamo in her field, Dashama is also a multi-media producer with videos, books and DVDs featured on Oprah.com, Walmart.com, Barnes&Noble.com, and Target.com.

"The more vigorous styles, like ashtanga yoga and power yoga, were created for fit young boys in India who needed to burn off some extra energy so they could sit still for meditation. It is a Western phenomenon for yoga to be a fitness routine or exercise program without the spiritual or meditative aspects. As a result of this, many people need healing after injuring themselves in a yoga class. Whether it was a strained or torn muscle, shoulders, wrists, joint problems or any other issue, these stories are not uncommon from both new and experienced yoga practitioners," she said.

The five most common reasons a yoga student may become injured in a yoga class are:

  1. They were trying to do something beyond their ability
  2. They were too warm from the heated room, thus being led by a false sense of flexibility
  3. Ego was in control - as they looked around the room observing other students mastering gracefully advanced poses and in an attempt to look cool or try something out of their reach, injury was the only reward
  4. Not being present with the movements, with their breath nor with their original intention for their practice, therefore trying too hard to be something they are not instead of just being everything they are -- which is perfect -- exactly where they are
  5. The instructor pushing too hard either in a physical adjustment or verbally

The lack of experience of the yoga teacher is the other cause for concern.

There are many new yoga teachers becoming certified all the time. As the practice of yoga becomes more popular, more teachers are being trained every day. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, they project 29% growth in the yoga and fitness training field between 2008 and 2018.

She advises students to avoid potentially dangerous yoga poses like inversions until they are ready.

One common report is from people injuring themselves in shoulder stand, plow and headstand positions. These yoga poses lend themselves to the most risk due to the weight and positioning being placed on the neck. Another valid point the book makes about shoulder stand leading to constriction of the throat and blood flow that could cause some yoga practitioners to have a stroke, which was validated by the research done by British Medical Journal. This warning should be preceded by the understanding that this type of pose should not be held for a long enough time for this to occur. Beginners should avoid it altogether until they are aware of their body on a very subtle level. Teachers should inform students never to turn their head while inverted. Continual and prolonged shoulder stand and plow practices can also create an imbalance in the cervical curvature of the spine, which is further aggravated by long hours of computer work and sitting at an office desk each day.

"All yoga poses can offer incredible health benefits when practiced appropriately, but the risk-reward ratio is not good for beginners, so it's best to err on the safe side at first," she said.

"Yoga can transform and heal your life, if practiced properly. Stick to the basics, breath, and above all else, stretch your heart," she said.

Dashama leads 200- and 500-hour yoga teacher training transformational certification programs in Bali, UK and Miami Beach. For a limited time, she is waiving the fee and offering a Skype consultation to each applicant, during which time you will share your goals and dreams and work toward creating a roadmap for your success. Apply today at http://www.pranashama.com/.

SOURCE Pranashama Yoga Institute



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