In a recent survey, conducted as part of the inaugural Global Yoga Therapy Day, yoga professionals were asked if there are any yogic practices deemed too dangerous to teach.
Responses from yoga professionals around the world identified the following as the 5 yoga poses whose risks outweigh any potential benefits:
In the first instance, these poses require a tremendous sense of balance. In a packed room, the risk of falling & injuring another person is reason enough to not teach these poses; but furthermore, these intense inversions put people with hypertension, heart disease and risk of stroke at extreme risk. The poses are also cautioned for people suffering from neck, back or shoulder injuries, eye conditions like glaucoma, ear infections, heartburn or indigestion, headache, pregnancy, low blood pressure and osteoporosis.
Most yoga professionals indicated there were way too many risks to be worth any potential benefits; particularly when other, safer inversions offer similar benefits.
Shoulderstand followed by plow pose is one of the more common sequences seen in general yoga classes; but many respondents suggested both of these poses has too high a risk for neck injury. And like the above inversions, these poses put people with hypertension, heart disease and risk of stroke at extreme risk.
Other reasons to steer clear of shoulderstand and plow? If you have back or shoulder injuries, eye conditions like glaucoma, ear infections, heartburn or indigestion, headache, low blood pressure or osteoporosis. That’s a lot of health conditions to be wary of – and with 52% of students indicating they’ve never filled out a student intake form advising on medical history; teachers need to be wary of what they don’t know!
Wheel pose and other extreme back bends can aggravate (and possibly create) disc problems; particularly if you’re not fully warmed up when they’re introduced.
In wheel pose, people also have a tendency to rest on their head as they move into the pose, exerting considerable pressure on their neck, which can be extremely dangerous.
This pose is cautioned for individuals with arthritis, back injury, heart conditions, shoulder or wrist injuries or any of the eye conditions like glaucoma.
Keep them safe:
With 2 in 31 of the public survey responders indicating they have a pre-existing chronic health concern or injury, it’s your responsibility to keep them safe in their practice.
To help keep your student safe in their practice, ensure new students fill out a student intake form so you have a better idea of any pre-existing injuries or health concerns that could put them at risk. Then, in every class make sure to ask questions before class begins if there are any injuries or concerns to report.
To increase your confidence in keeping them safe, YogaMate has created an app, Yoga Therapeutics Pro, which provides the cautions and potential therapeutic considerations for over 350 yogic practices. The app allows yoga practitioners to search more than 100 of the most common health concerns and injuries to gain instantaneous access to knowledge that helps you better keep your students safe in their practice.
Available in iPhone and Android. Learn more here.
1 Safe Yoga Survey, conducted by YogaMate, June – July 2019 of 1058 yoga teachers