Identifying Elements of a Safe Yoga Practice

14 Feb

yoga yoga yoga
A safe yoga is one that respects the body and mind and is mindful of the body’s limitations and needs. The saying “less is best” is the best way to encourage a safe practice. Always use the breath as a tool for movement as well as a judge of limitations. If the breath isn’t steady, then the pose isn’t steady and Sthira Sukham is not being achieved and the pose is then not safe. Always encourage a mindful practice that respects the uniqueness of each student and their abilities.

General Guidelines to encourage for a Safe and Comfortable Practice

  1. Empty bowels
  2. Empty stomach
  3. Link breath and movement
  4. Practice any time of day except after meals
  5. Body awareness
  6. Savasana and relaxation included in every class
  7. A balanced diet

Discuss several cues from students that may arise that demonstrate that a student is beyond their limits in a yoga pose. Discuss different techniques to work with the student to adjust the pose safely. List three methods you can suggest to the student to pay attention to in the future to identify their own limits within a certain posture.

Often students may not be aware of what types of poses are not right for their body. Always discuss injuries with students prior to class and apply the yoga therapy principles learned.
Common Injury Poses to Avoid
Back Pain-Back bends, strong forward bends, strong spinal twists
Neck Pain-Head stand, looking up, maybe shoulder stand
Knee Pain-Remove all positions that knee pain is felt

Also take note of students with other illnesses or conditions such as high or low blood pressure, or pre or post natal. Always give modifications and contraindications when teaching. Free range of movement is also important for the safety of students. Always encourage students to wear appropriate clothing that enables them to move freely. Also suggest the use of clothing that is light if hot, warm if cold and no jewellery if it gets in the way. Due to differences in taste in smells, it is suggested that you ask students to not wear perfumes or scented lotions to class as well.

Choice in mats can also aid yoga students in a safe practice. Try to encourage students to purchase non-toxic and non-slip mats.
The Importance of Keeping Yourself Safe While Teaching

Teaching can feel like a lot of responsibility when we are trying to help students have a safe and enjoyable practice. Often teachers become so preoccupied with their students well being that they forget to care for their own bodies. It is vital for a sustainable practice that you, as a teacher, are mindful of your own body as well as your students. Always remember to attend to the three parts of the pose as well as your own breath. Make sure to not demonstrate a pose if you are injured or unwell. A common misalignment of yoga teachers is to hyper extend joints when demonstrating repetitive postures. Always be mindful of your alignment. It not only protects your body, but it shows students the correct way to align their own body. Practice the Yamas and Niyamas as you teach and avoid the pressure to demonstrate poses beyond your limits. Teaching in an unmindful manner can result in life-long injuries and a damaged practice. Take care of yourself and respect your body.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: