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Sunday, April 29, 2012

The Dangers of Pushing Kids in Physical Yoga

By Faye Martins
Yoga teachers are often considering the development of new programs for adults, seniors, and children. Sometimes, we consider giving children the opportunity to get the level of exercise needed to rid extra energy. This extra energy needs to be released in a positive way, but children need proper guidance and yoga instructors need to make sure classes are safe.
Power and vinyasa are generic physical styles that often derive their roots from the Ashtanga school of yoga. These generic styles emphasize the physical practice over the mental and spiritual practice. They are often offered at gyms as a form of exercise that can build strength and help with weight loss while encouraging flexibility and stress relief.
Additionally, more and more families are realizing that these health benefits are not lost on the younger generation.
It is important to note that despite being an advantageous way to stay healthy and fit, yoga can also present its own challenges to safe practice. With this in mind, parents should expect that there might be dangers in physical yoga for kids, and should refrain from pushing their children too hard.
The Risks
Power, vinyasa, and other physical forms of yoga can be risky for kids for several reasons.
First, children’s developing bodies and immature attention spans pose a special challenge for yoga instructors or parents who wish to guide youths through the refreshing practice of physical yoga. To prevent injury, students should take pose progression slowly, starting first with only the most basic postures and working on each pose series until the technique is nearly-perfect. Moving on to the trickier poses too fast can put a young person beyond his or her strength and flexibility capacities. As part of this idea, yoga teachers must keep an eye on balance and stress the importance of paying attention. In this way, children can avoid falls or muscle strains from incorrect posture. Practicing creative teaching can also make this challenge a lot easier by engaging kids’ attention in more lasting ways.
Second, even poses that children have mastered can present dangers. Inversion poses, for example, can place stress on the spine and neck, and abrupt forward bends are known for aggravating or causing back pain. With these risks common among adults, instructors should be careful not to place undue amounts of stress on young people’s immature musculature.
Third, there is a difference between pushing children to fulfill their potential and pushing children beyond their abilities. Some instructors or parents become impatient with children who struggle with pose alignment, but it is important to maintain an encouraging and supportive role during a yoga session. While some kids may need more guidance than others, continuing to assess the student’s abilities during a difficult pose is absolutely necessary. Remember that baby steps will get a person to the goal just as well as steps that over-reach.
© Copyright 2012 – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division
To see our selection of Online Yoga teacher training courses, please visit the following link.
FREE Yoga Report. FREE Yoga Newsletter. FREE Yoga Videos. Free Podcasts. Bonus: Free Yoga e-Book, “Yoga in Practice.”
FREE CONTENT: If you are a Yoga Teacher, Yoga studio, blogger, e-zine, or website publisher, and are in need of quality content, please feel free to use my blog entries (articles). Please be sure to reprint each article, as is, including the resource box above. Namaste!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Injury Precautions for Power Yoga


By Dr. Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500
Often practiced in gyms, Power Yoga is a general term used to refer to a practice that is more physically challenging than many other physical styles. In order to elevate heart rate, and encourage weight loss, this form of Yoga pushes through a fast-flowing series of postures. Sometimes, the postures are held for longer than is typical, in order to build strength and muscle. Deeper stretches and flexibility are encouraged through the synchronization of breath with movement.  A variety of Yogic practices can be adapted to this faster-flowing, and physically-challenging form of Yoga; it is important that practitioners take certain precautions to avoid injury.
Safety Tips
To start with, beginners should never attempt to participate in a Power Yoga session, without first determining whether the instructor works with beginners, and can cater the class to an appropriate skill level. Because Power Yoga is supposed to be physically challenging, practitioners who are not strong enough or flexible enough for more advanced poses, like the inversions, should stick with simpler, more basic Yoga positions.
When considering the practice of a dynamic version of Yoga, it is important that practitioners, of all levels, achieve the correct alignment and proper technique, in each posture, to avoid injury within poses (asanas) and during transitions.  If a practitioner chooses not to follow the step-by-step instructions for asanas, this can result in muscle strains or aggravation of old injuries, since correct form and proper alignment protect the joints and other vulnerable areas of the body from premature wear.
Those who suffer from, or are recovering from injuries, should also take care during a Power Yoga session. For example, a person who struggles with back pain must be extremely conscious of maintaining good technique during forward bend and back bending postures.
In line with the above precautions, practitioners should also refrain from pushing their bodies too hard and too fast in a Yoga session. It can take time to master Yogic techniques, and even though the goal of Power Yoga is a physical challenge, injuries most often occur when the individual is distracted or working at an inappropriate level for his or her fitness capability.
Pregnancy
Women, who are pregnant, should consult with their doctor before practicing any physical form of Yoga. Jump backs may not be wise during the first trimester of pregnancy.  Many women, who are experienced practitioners, are able to continue a modified practice through an entire pregnancy, maintaining a healthy cardiovascular system and a strong, flexible body. With that said, prenatal Yoga classes are a wise choice, because each trimester presents unique precautions and no two people are exactly alike. To scratch the surface on this issue, loose joints and vulnerable balance can create risks for pregnant women during poses.  Therefore, pregnant Yoga students should be ready to adapt postures to fit their individual needs.
© Copyright 2012 – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division
To see our selection of Online Yoga teacher training courses, please visit the following link.
FREE Yoga Report. FREE Yoga Newsletter. FREE Yoga Videos. Free Podcasts. Bonus: Free Yoga e-Book, “Yoga in Practice.”
FREE CONTENT: If you are a Yoga Teacher, Yoga studio, blogger, e-zine, or website publisher, and are in need of quality content, please feel free to use my blog entries (articles). Please be sure to reprint each article, as is, including the resource box above. Namaste!