Yoga Therapy and Safety Blog
Welcome to the Smart Safe Yoga Blog! Here you’ll learn all about preventing yoga injuries by making sure ahimsa, the practice of non-harming, is no accident. We’ll also touch upon asana issues, contraindications, studio safety, plus other yoga resources and news.
Starting Out Smart & Safe in Yoga
Dear Emma and Olivia, This morning in Arizona I received a wonderful note from your teacher that explained how you were preparing to start yoga in your after school program. She shared that you’d done some research on yoga and found this site about being Smart & Safe in yoga. I’m glad to hear you found it helpful. What I’m really excited about though is that you two did further research to learn how yoga can benefit you BEFORE you started your classes. Oh, that adults were as wise as you two! Your teacher mentioned you found a blog post about easing back pain with simple yoga poses. She wanted to surprise you by asking me to add it to my list of resources on my site. I thought giving you your own blog posting would be more fun AND offer a learning opportunity for you and your smart class mates as you start yoga. The learning opportunity is that right now the adults are having a hard time agreeing on what is Smart and Safe…and even what is true or not. Sometimes it feels to me like maybe we should develop “after-work” lesson plans for the adults on getting along and studying “What is true?”! Have you noticed the silly arguing going on among the adults? That’s why I’m so excited to learn that you actually were smart and decided to seek a deeper understanding of a subject and ask an expert to learn more about what is true. What’s…
Has Your Understanding of Yoga Lost Its Flexibility?
In my new book, Yoga Therapy as a Creative Response to Pain, I titled the first chapter, “Yoga Isn’t What You Think It Is,” which sets the tone for the entire book. All of my life I’ve been reserved and overly polite. Something shifted though during 2016 as I watched society lurch madly in a direction I could only describe as a “bad movie” script.
Did you feel it as well?
I believe the combination of stepping into my new career chapter as a writer and full-time teacher coupled with a sense of urgency over the type of world I am leaving for my three grown children ignited a change in me. No more time for dancing around the awkward issues or hoping not to offend someone (always an anonymous entity I now realize). So let’s check our flexibility about yoga, shall we, and see if we are supple enough to bend into and make a change in the “B” movie we call “now”?
What is Yoga Pain?
What is Yoga Pain? I’m pretty sure I just made it up. The reason I made up the term was to try to capture a growing problem among not only yoga professionals (teachers and therapists) but also my healthcare professional colleagues. The Yoga Pain seems to be the result of our individual and collective “forgetting” how everything is connected…that Unity thing of yoga. That’s right, we keep forgetting and that generates even more pain rather than solving the pain epidemic and despite all of our good intentions. We just “forget” and slip into our habits of mind of applying parts to complex, relational challenges. That’s the reason why I wrote my new book: Yoga Therapy as a Creative Response to Pain. Not convinced? Consider the following challenges we all face. Let’s begin by defining Yoga Pain like so: Yoga Pain [yoh-guh peyn] noun, The emotions, stress, fear, and burden of teaching yoga to relieve pain. The result of an inappropriately taught yoga session. That bad little feeling that one is actually just a poser when they teach yoga. Bread served at French yoga studios That last one hurt, didn’t it? But it is a definition. My point is to highlight the fluidity of language and the potential for misunderstanding to arise for both simple and complex concepts. Pain, of course, is a complex concept. How Complex is Pain? Well, if you think you understand it, you’re wrong. Yep, wrong. Here’s why: Pain science is changing so fast the experts admit…
This is my first post after two fun years of transitioning from clinical practice to my new roles as writer, researcher and mentor. I’ve been honored to be asked to participate in the new Yoga Alliance (YA) organizational development process. Specifically to serve on the scope of practice committee for yoga teachers. This feels like full-circle as back in the late 90’s my son, Adam, and I created the first YA website and database. My member number was # 46 and there was a great deal of excitement about the potential for the organization to bring yoga into our culture. The years passed, many changes occurred, and I finally withdrew my membership when the “therapy” Prohibition was rolled out of principle because of the process utilized, and also because I identified more as a yoga therapist than a yoga teacher, and could not comply with the Prohibition in my profile or websites. I’m pleased to share that the new leadership at YA is undergoing a sincere process of organizational change that suggests many positive processes underway to address earlier shortcomings, and more importantly, better serve their membership and the public. All of this means I’ve been revisiting their mission, my intentions, and how I might best serve the YA community. I’ve invested a great deal of time and effort in leading yoga therapy and yoga safety, beginning with the first article on yoga safety in 2004. My prior thinking and leadership on those issues is captured here about how yoga…
Exciting New Course for Rehab Professionals
My first project after finishing my sabbatical is actually one I worked on during my sabbatical with the brilliant Hannah Millson, SPT of U of Montana Doctoral Physical Therapy program during the fall semester of 2016. Hannah contacted me the spring of 2016 as I was leaving on sabbatical and wanted to do an independent study project around yoga and rehab. From that request developed the idea of creating a 15-week online course for rehab graduate students that will: Be evidence-informed on using yoga therapeutics in rehab. Be experiential where they could experience the effects of practice on themselves…and hopefully also be a self-care tool. Provide the clinical rationale and basic science evidence to go back to the internship or classroom to share their insights with faculty, colleagues and patients. Provide students, faculty and clinical instructors the same material to share, adapt or modify for free as a Creative Commons licensed program (ie, you just have to attribute to us)…perfect for inservices, student groups, and capstone projects! This course is now open as of August 15, 2017. It is free to all graduate students and student groups (Use coupon code “givingbackiytir“… see picture below…no credit card request; it looks like you will have to after you hit “Register,” but once you enter the coupon code it goes away, and NO upsells…promise). Graduates, faculty, clinical instructors, and active rehab professionals will be able to participate for free if they request a code from info at smartsafeyoga.com. While the course…
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