Traditionally, yoga was practiced on a one-on-one basis. Students and teachers worked closely together and developed long-term relationships that were conducive to keeping people safe and healthy. Now that yoga has skyrocketed in popularity and become more mainstream, these one-on-one sessions have given way to classes in which a single teacher is in charge of a large group of students. In some cases, students are crammed together in small rooms, which increases the risk of injury even more. Classes are the most logical way to teach yoga to large groups, but what can yoga studios do to keep injuries to a minimum?
Experienced Teachers are Essential
All too often, gyms and other facilities are so eager to start offering yoga to their members that they recruit teachers who aren’t necessarily certified yoga instructors. For instance, an aerobics instructor might take a class or two and then be put in charge of a roomful of eager yoga students. Without the right experience and training, however, a yoga instructor may not be able to accurately tell whether students are performing poses in the safest way possible. They may also be more willing to push students to perform poses that they’re not quite ready to tackle, which increases the risk of injury as well.
Reasonable Student-to-Teacher Ratios are Crucial
While it’s probably wishful thinking to imagine a world where every yoga student has his or her own, private instructor, it’s not unreasonable to expect yoga studios to keep teacher-to-student ratios at reasonable levels. Sure, the more students that are packed into a room, the more money the studio makes. However, overcrowded rooms increase the risk of students crashing into one another and even into their instructors. These types of injuries are becoming more and more common, and less-crowded classes should help stem the tide significantly.
An Understanding of How Injuries Happen is Key
Finally, students and teachers alike should be educated about the areas of the body where injuries are most likely to occur. The lower back, neck and knees are all prime examples. Most poses put weight on at least a few of these areas, so students need to be mindful of the risk. When instructors are familiar with these problem areas, they can keep a closer eye on students to ensure that they’re not pushing the envelope.
Yoga is supposed to help the body heal, but injuries do happen. By keeping these basic points in mind, though, yoga studios can help to keep them at bay.
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