protect yoga studentsBy Bhavan Kumar

How can we improve our ability to protect yoga students? As a yoga instructor, our primary duty is to ensure the continuing safety of our students. One of the easiest ways to do this is through the use of safety guidelines. These guidelines transfer the burden of student safety from being the sole responsibility of the yoga teacher to the students themselves. A well-written set of guidelines helps us protect yoga students to ensure their own safety, which in turn gives teachers peace of mind.

Most yoga studios have their own unique set of safety guidelines that have evolved over the course of time. Despite this, they all share some similarities that may serve as a template for those looking to craft their own set of safety guidelines.

1. Proper Attire

It’s amazing what people will show up to class in if there is no dress code in place. Yoga can be challenging enough without tight jeans, excessively baggy clothes and hair getting in the way. Insisting on proper attire in the Yoga studio goes a long way in preventing senseless injury. Clothing should be stretchy, sporty and close fitting without being tight. If a student has long hair, it should be pulled back and secured to protect the student during asanas. Shoes should not be worn during yoga practice.

2. Foods and Drink

Students should always arrive at class well hydrated, and bring water with them as well. Heavy meals before class should be avoided to prevent stomach upset and pain.

3. Backpacks, Bags and Other Personal Items

Belongings should not be allowed on the studio floor unless they are necessary for yoga practice. Having clutter in the classroom presents a tripping hazard for your students. Consider providing a waiting or storage area for bags, coats and other personal items.  Some yoga studios have a specific area to hang up coats and put away personal items.

4. Honor the Body and Use Good Sense

If it feels unnatural, a student shouldn’t do it. Students should be encouraged to use their yoga class as a time to listen intently to their bodies. If it doesn’t feel like it should bend that way, it probably shouldn’t.

5. No Competition in Yoga

Students should never turn yoga into a contest between individuals. Yoga is intensely personal, and everyone must learn at his or her own pace. Yoga is not about besting another student by going deeper into an asana; yoga is about being present and honoring your body.

6. Always Have Proper Alignment

No pose should be done without proper alignment, even if it means not doing the pose at all. The presence of an intense sharp, shooting pain is a sign that an asana was forced or done without proper alignment. Students should discuss any such instances with the teacher at the end of class.

7. Notify the Yoga Instructor of Medical Conditions

Any medical condition, new or old, must be reported to the yoga instructor immediately for the student’s safety.

These are basic safety guidelines that will protect students from the most common problems during yoga class.

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