Every Body is Different ~ Bernie Clark

The Two Biggest Challenges in Yoga Today: Part Two.

(This was an interesting blog post I found on Elephant Journal I thought I’d share ~Roxy)

Frequently I receive emails or postings from yoga teachers and students asking for an opinion about some other teacher’s statement that a certain yoga pose is really harmful for students and should never be taught, or certain movements of the body in a yoga class should be outlawed.

Dogma is dangerous! To say that something is always wrong or something should never be done feeds into fear and at best is unhelpful and at worst is harmful. There are two big reasons why some teachers will render these prejudicial statements:

  1. A common misperception about the nature and value of stress
  2. Ignorance of skeletal variations 1

Skeletal Variation

Every body is different! I am sure that this statement did not rock your world: you know that everyone is different.

And yet, knowing this, we somehow expect that everyone should be exactly the same when it comes to yoga practice. This is very dangerous. There is a reason why a ballerina will never play point guard for the Miami Heat and why NFL Linebackers will not dance for the Bolshoi—individual bodies are not built to do all the possible movements that humans on the whole can do. Not every body can do every pose in yoga!

But this does not mean that every pose in yoga is dangerous for everybody.

In the blog decrying Pigeon Pose the author showed an image similar to this one.

He said, “This student is not only putting her S/I joints in danger, but she is also going to stretch the ligaments out in her knees pretty quickly, and before long will suffer some pretty serious knee trauma.”

This displays an ignorance of skeletal variation—this woman is doing this pose because she can! I will never be able to bring my front foot that far forward because my hip sockets will not allow it. For me, and for many others, to even try to do this would destroy my knees, but this does not mean it’s dangerous for this particular woman to do so. The only way you can tell if this is dangerous for her is to ask her what she’s feeling.

If she’s feeling any discomfort in the knees then she would be well advised to back off. But many people can greatly externally rotate their legs— some people can bring both feet behind their heads! This pose in and of itself is not dangerous—it can be dangerous to some people but for other people it is perfectly acceptable and is a healthy stress of their hip sockets.

Should we say that no-one should do ballet because a seven-foot tall basketball players can’t do it very well?

Read the rest of the article at Elephant Journal…

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