And here comes the bad news: BEWARE yoga can hurt you! While any physical activity, like say walking for example, can sometimes put you at risk of hurting yourself, yoga has the special added bonus of some semi-awkward poses and an onslaught of enthusiastic yoga teachers who may or may not be thoroughly trained and who may or may not instruct you into some compromising positions. Does this mean we need regulation? Can you really trust your yoga teacher? Will we ever feel safe again?? The CBS news team is hot on the case, and reports that “a lack of regulation in the yoga industry could be putting you at risk” and zeros in on random online certification programs for the low low price of $69.99. BOOM you’re a yoga teacher! Congratulations!
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the number of yoga injuries rose from more than 3,700 in 2004 to more than 4,400 in 2006.
“It is the wild west when it comes to yoga certification. There are no national, state regulatory agencies that cover yoga instructors,” says Marc Rabinoff, personal trainer expert man. “Ludicrous and dangerous” he continues in response to the online certification, terrifying us all.
While the licensing battle over government regulated teacher training has been fought and won in states like NY and VA, is there still an outstanding issue of what and how those teachers are trained? But wait, we thought yoga already had a standards and practices body. Don’t studios and yoga teachers pay dues to something known as the Yoga Alliance so they can be “registered”? Hm. What DO they do over there at YA?
The NYTimes did an article on this last month (also called ‘When Yoga Hurts’) where they interviewed specialists on the influx of the overstretched and/or under-guided yoga students who turn up at the doctor complaining of aches and pains post “stretching and breathing”. So why the hurts?
“Yoga is a good thing, so you tend to push further than you would in a sport where you are actually more attuned to injury and afraid of injuries,” said Dr. Michelle Carlson, an orthopedic surgeon at the Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan who specializes in arms and hands. She said she recently “saw four women in a row in my office with hand injuries from yoga.”
OK, but why?
“The most common form of injury is the overzealous student,” said Dr. Loren Fishman, a spine specialist, yoga teacher and medical director of Manhattan Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. “The second most common reason for injury is poor alignment, and that is usually crummy teaching.”
Crummy teachers and hyperactive students. Do we need regulation for these troublemakers? Better meditate on that. And make it snappy.