As a beginning student of yoga, it is important to choose a suitable class to have a positive experience and prevent injury. When choosing a class, consider the current level of pain, history of injury and surgeries, and your current fitness ability.
If you have acute pain (less than 6 months) or persistent pain (beyond 6 months) it will affect your ability to do some yoga poses as well as transitioning between yoga poses. Yoga poses (Asanas) may have contraindications, therefore, it is important to research the training and knowledge base of the instructor.
Beginner VS Gentle
Yoga Teacher Training programs vary from a few weekends up to a Yoga Therapist training program of 1000 hours. Students with pain or health concerns are advised to seek a more experienced yoga teacher. Yoga Classes that are advertised for beginners may be targeted to students that are new to yoga, without health concerns. Classes labeled as gentle, are conducted at a slower pace and offer modifications to the yoga poses. Classes that are offered at a slower pace and offer alternative movements will be more appropriate for new students especially students with limitations in flexibility and those with persistent pain.
Types of Yoga
Chair yoga can be helpful for students with a lack of balance including those with altered sensation in their feet that occurs in diseases such as MS, Diabetes, and Lupus. Flowing type yoga classes are suitable for individuals who are physically fit, haven’t had joint repairs, and don’t have medical concerns.
While participating in class consider the Yogic principle of Ahimsa – which means Non-Harming. When the body senses pain, the protective responses that prevent injury are activated. Your breath can be a guide to noticing if you are practicing within comfort. Try to be curious if your breathing is relaxed and smooth while you practice yoga. Yoga teachers will guide you into Pranayama/breathing practices that will help you to be more conscious of your breath.
At Duncan Wellness Centre we offer Somatic Yoga, suitable for beginners and those in pain. It is a practice of inquiry and self-study that guides students to sense their body and stay within their comfort. Somatic Yoga focuses on smaller easier movements designed to relax the mind and body in preparation for Asanas. Somatics focuses on improving relaxation and function which makes it easier to move between Asanas and to hold the Asanas.
Duncan Wellness Centre #303-80 Station St, Duncan www.duncanwellnesscentre.com
Violet Reynolds RMT, Somatic Educator, RDYT500