Hi from rainy London and Fierce Grace West Studio. I have been studying at a continuation training here over the weekend, specifically for Injury Modification.

A lot of the time we (I mean yoga teachers) get a whole bunch of amazing and mindblowing – yet anecdotal – evidence of a student here and there who healed this and that through yoga. The trouble is we might easily generalise this to mean every student with the same condition will be healed by yoga, or what is even worse, we might believe we are in a position to give advice beyond our training or understanding.

The truth is that most students who feel uncomfortable or in pain will not want to repeat the experience and they leave the studio and never come back. There is very little you can determine from the ones who stay that can be generalised to apply to everyone. One of the amazing things about what we are doing here is comparing notes with physiotherapy, working out ways yoga can support the work of health care professionals.

Is it true yoga never causes injuries – No.

Is all yoga therapeutic – No.

Is getting into the full expression of any asana the goal – No.

Not that either.

Yet yoga does help and it is recommended often by health care professionals, because of what yoga can do rather than for what it cannot. It can help you build awareness of your body, your posture and if you practice pranayama, a greater awareness of your nervous system at work and your mental state. It can help you build strenght and stability in you aligments, postures and work specifically to balance out imbalances in how your muscles function – many yoga postures look a lot like physiotherapy exercises.

It can also help you build core strength, so can pilates. It can help you remember to stand up from your desk in the middle of the day and move around a bit. It can help you feel like you have some tools for a calmer mindset.

As the saying goes, yoga is not about touching your toes, it is about what you learn on the way down. The goals are different to all of us for sure, but I would suggest the ones worth striving for are having your body’s mobility the best it can be, to balance out your muscle strengths and weaknesses, to find traction in a compressed spine weighed down by gravity – and so on.

Those things that might matter more than the postures are being able to lift your grandchildren or your dog up from the floor or your handluggage to the overhead compartment in the plane, to hold your balance on icy streets, to step up to the tram while holding your takeaway coffee cup in your hand without the fear of spilling it. Standing in a bus without holding onto anything like a naughty child even though you are told otherwise. Running to catch that bus to begin with.

Having your foot behind your head has little to add to your quality of life, keeping your feet firmly on the ocean floor while holding onto your surfboard has a little more. When I was teaching a class on the Big Island in Hawaii I had a student come in who told me they had surfed all their life. “Surfing keeps me young but yoga keeps me surfing, you know” he said.

If I was keeping some kind of a “good reasons to practice” list, he would be up there in my top 5.




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