Yoga Therapy and Safety Blog

Is Hot Yoga Smart or Safe?

 

Q: Is that hot Yoga good for you? I can just sit in my car and sweat. What are the differences and safety concerns for my health? A: Isn’t it amazing how many “flavors” of Yoga there are? The wide variety of names and types can be a bit daunting. One of the major sub-categories in Yoga is the “hot” group where classes are held in a heated room. Let’s take a look at what the rationale is, who it is appropriate for, and most importantly, the safety concerns and subtle health issues involved in choosing a hot practice. What is Hot Yoga? Typically it is any Yoga done in a hot room…from 90 to 105 degrees Fahrenheit. In the westernization of Yoga there are multiple branding efforts to get marketing traction. The most famous is the Bikram brand. The idea is that Yoga is a process of change and the “fire” (tapas) of practice burns away the dross or tired barriers to change. Often the precious metal analogy of gold and silver is used. Raise the heat, let the unneeded or unwanted melt or float to the surface and keep the good stuff! Another aspect of the heat is that it mimics the ambient conditions of parts of India where the practices developed and therefore heat is staying to true to the heritage. Valid points, but keep in mind there are other considerations to weigh in making a decision if it’s right for you. When Hot Yoga is Appropriate…

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Preventing Anterior Knee Pain and Yoga

 

When the front of the knee hurts in yoga Patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS) is the most common overuse injury of the lower extremity1, 2. PFPS is a condition characterized by pain surrounding the kneecap associated with activities involving lower limb loading (eg, walking, running, jumping, stair climbing, and prolonged sitting and kneeling (yoga!)). There are many factors that can lead to PFPS3.  These include: 1. ) Alignment: the angle your thigh bone (femur) connects to the shin bone (tibia), the way the knee cap (patella) fits onto your femur, and the way your ankle and foot line up with the shin bone. 2.) Muscle strength: The muscles that influence the hips, knees and ankle all influence your alignment and knee function. 3.) Muscle tightness: If the muscles that cross the knee and attach to the patella are tight, it will cause increased compressive forces and may also influence how the patella moves. There is not always an obvious reason why someone has anterior knee pain.  PFPS is often associated with higher impact activities, but may occur in yoga.   Regardless of whether practicing yoga aggravates your knees, learning more about the patellofemoral joint may help you improve your alignment and avoid unnecessary strain and pain. The knee bone’s connected to… The knee is made up of three bones: the thighbone (femur), the shinbone (tibia), and the kneecap (patella). The patella is a large sesamoid bone (a bone embedded within a tendon) and protects the knee from direct trauma.  It also acts as…

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Introducing Christine Carr, DPT, PYT and Smart Asana

 

Smart Asana: An Ongoing Blog For Asana Safety I’m pleased to introduced Dr. Christine Carr, DPT, PYT, our asana expert and safety guide for teachers and yoga students. Dr. Carr will be making regular contributions featuring asana-related issues that can compromise smart, safe yoga. I took time out last week to interview Christine about her passion and expertise around this topic of asana safety. As you will see, she’s sharp, deeply passionate and has much to share with us.   Welcome Christine to Smart Safe Yoga!     Dr. Carr’s Yoga-based Physical Therapy Clinic… creating the future of rehabilitation!    

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Smart Asana: Protecting the Elbow

 
Christine Carr Protecting the Elbow

Protecting the Elbow Complex During Yoga Hand balances are a common part of many yoga classes.  We often place weight on our hands as we progress through our poses.  We may move from a bird dog variation, to downward facing dog, to upward facing dog several times in one class.  Whatever dog you do (or teach), the joints of the hand, elbow and shoulder may be at risk.  Injuries (from yoga) are on the rise (1).  The causes of joint injury may include: stiffness, hypermobility, muscle weakness, or performing hand balances improperly.   We should not underestimate the importance our elbow joint complex has in the safety of our practice.  Our elbow is situated between two mobile joints and is susceptible to strain. The Parts Like the knee, the elbow is considered a complex hinge joint.  Like the hinge to a door, this type of joint allows primarily one plane of motion.  In the elbow, there are 4 joints (3 bones) that enable not only bending and straightening (flexion and extension), but also rotating the hand up (supination) and down (pronation).  These joints are respectively: the humeroulnar joint, the radiohumeral joint, the proximal radioulnar joint and the distal radioulnar joint.  The last two joints are considered pivot, multi-axial joints hence the ‘complex’ part. The elbow joint is designed to be stable.  In addition to a network of ligaments, there are 16 muscles that control movement in the elbow, wrist and hand.  Seven muscles that cross the elbow control the elbow specifically, and the…

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How to Find a Smart Safe Yoga Teacher

 
Find the right yoga teacher

“How do I find a smart, safe yoga teacher?” This is the question I get most often online and in my clinic. If there was an easy answer, there’d be no reason for this website! Finding a yoga teacher is much like any other consumer question, “Caveat emptor” (buyer beware). Let’s break this task down into some useful steps that will provide you with a shopping list to help you find that smart, safe yoga teacher/therapist…

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