By Dr. Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500

When you considered becoming a Yoga teacher, did you ever think about the amount of students, with pre-existing back pain, who will show up to your classes? This is one of many reasons why anatomy, physiology, and kinesiology are an essential part of Yoga teacher training and continuing education courses for experienced Yoga teachers.

If anyone understates the value of anatomic knowledge for Yoga instructors, in physically-oriented classes, he or she has not considered student safety, preventative health, and the number of students with pre-existing injuries, who will participate in Yoga classes.

At a time when professional medical care is a financial burden to most families, Yoga for back pain is very inexpensive, in comparison to the many alternatives. This does not mean that students should join Yoga classes the moment they encounter back problems. It is wise to visit your family physician, specialist, or a chiropractor for professional advice, and detailed information, concerning the exact cause of your pain.

With that said – the anatomical source of back pain can evade the best medical instruments and some of the most brilliant minds of our time. Back pain can be much like a sporadic haunting. For some of us, it may be here one day and gone the next. Yet, it can also be a chronic and continuous pain for others.

When medicine can only base advice on a symptom, previous history, and random factors, it may not be clear to medical science how the therapeutic application of Yoga makes a difference. One student may have optimum results in the reduction of pain, while another student may have minimal results.

When looking deeply at the therapeutic application of Yoga, there are other factors worthy of consideration. When you compare one group of students, who have various types of back pain, and who attend classes regularly, to another group who attend classes sporadically, you will likely see different results.

At the same time, a Yoga teacher’s anatomy knowledge is also a factor in students getting the best results out of their practice. With this in mind, students with various forms of pre-existing back pain should consider attending specific Yoga classes, with an instructor who has anatomic knowledge. There are many situations to be considered when we address student safety and the reduction of constant back pain.

Proper labeling of Yoga class types should be noted. Students should understand that a boot camp fitness Yoga class may not be in their best interest – if they suffer from chronic back pain. Students should address their concerns before entering a class. This means that students with back pain should arrive well before their initial class starts and explain their concerns about pre-existing injuries.

For the Yoga studios and fitness centers, it would be wise to close the doors, and lock them, once a class has started. This prevents a student from being put at risk for injury. How can Yoga teachers know if a new student has a pre-existing ailment, when we allow them to arrive late to class, without exchanging our mutual health concerns?

The bottom line is that Yoga classes and student education can be even safer, if we continuously educate ourselves, and create firm guidelines, that prevent the public from putting themselves at risk.

© Copyright 2010 – Paul Jerard / Aura Publications

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