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The Mistake of Yoga as a Generic Rx

in YD News, YogaDork Ed

This post is excerpted from Jill Miller’s new book The Roll Model. We requested to run this short excerpt in light of the growing interest and awareness in safety, body alignment and injury prevention in yoga. Stay tuned for a Q&A with Jill and a special giveaway starting tomorrow.

Just because you can do a pose does not mean that you should. These are poses that I have retired from my repertoire. Retired. They made my hips, knees, and spine click and pop and are not suitable for my body.

Just because you can do a pose does not mean that you should. These are poses that I have retired from my repertoire. Retired. They made my hips, knees, and spine click and pop and are not suitable for my body.

by Jill Miller

Yoga in a broad sense can help with posture, but it can also be a posture killer and a pain generator. Yoga poses are therapeutic only if you do them with attention to foundational posture and with the consciousness that each individual is a unique living ecosystem. Many yoga trainings pay little attention to the importance of anatomy and physiology as they relate to poses, movement, and each individual’s structure at that point in time.

While there is definitely a standard human “structure,” the effects of daily living and each person’s postural habits create body blind spots (points of weakness and imbalance), so not every pose is possible for every body. Many yoga poses are so extreme that they will pull the body out of alignment because the architecture of the pose is not suitable for the person attempting the pose. If a yoga teacher is not well educated enough to read the variance of the bodies in the room, his or her students will pay the price.*

Poses are not pills. If you do poses (or any exercise, for that matter) without knowing whether you should even be doing those particular poses, much less doing them with improper form and posture, you will eventually wear out your tissues and create pain. This is specifically why I developed Yoga Tune Up with its focus on anatomy, physiology, and human movement.

*For more on the dangers of yoga, check out William J. Broad’s article “How Yoga Can Wreck Your Body,” The New York Times, January 5, 2012, and Matthew Remski’s blog post “‘I Was Addicted to Practice’: A Senior Teacher Changes Her Path,” June 5, 2014.

Excerpted from The Roll Model: A Step-by-Step Guide to Erase Pain, Improve Mobility, and Live Better in Your Body by Jill Miller. Copyright © 2014 by Jill Miller. Excerpted by permission of Victory Belt Publishing Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.


Jill Miller is the co-founder of Tune Up Fitness Worldwide, creator of the corrective exercise format Yoga Tune Up and The Roll Model Method. With more than 27 years of study in anatomy and movement, she is a pioneer in forging relevant links between the worlds of fitness, yoga, massage, and pain management. She is known as the Teacher’s Teacher and has trained thousands of movement educators, clinicians, and manual therapists to incorporate her Therapy Ball products into fitness and medical facility programs internationally. Jill and her Roll Model products have been featured on The Today Show, Good Morning America, Fox News, ABC News, and in publications such as O, Shape, Fitness, W, Self, Yoga Journal, Redbook, and Prevention. She is also a contributing fitness expert to the LA Times and the Oprah Winfrey Network.




4 comments… add one
  • paul

    even after years of reading these articles, it still suprises me that yoga is considered posture only, shallow only, physical only.

  • tina

    The Krounchasana and its header caught my eye and I came to this, eager to hear the voice of an emerging/innovative approach. Instead, beyond stating the obvious, all I learned was that the author has her own system (TM). Disappointing.

  • Jill is lucky that the only injuries she had from some yoga poses were clicks and pops in her joints. I have many clients who are facing hip replacement surgeries or labral tears. Just looking at this photo makes me cringe as I see forward head carriage, and the natural curves in the lumbar and cervical flexed into a C shape not unlike someone aging poorly. Stretching the sacral platform flat will cause ligament laxity that compromises the shock absorbing functions of the lumbar spine. There is an article in the New York Times addressing this. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/03/sunday-review/womens-flexibility-is-a-liability-in-yoga.html?_r=0

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