Have you seen the e-mail that is circulating, did you watch the nightly news on NBC Thursday, or read any other articles on Yoga being dangerous? Well don't be shocked, but I agree. Let me explain why.
If you attempt poses, your not prepared for, for example ones that are advanced when you're still a beginner, or attempting inversions without building the strength in your arms, shoulders, and back. You are putting yourself in a possible injury situation. Alignment is an important part of Yoga, it's like buying or selling a house; location, location, location; ALIGNMENT, ALIGNMENT, ALIGNMENT. This should be done before, going into, during, and coming out of a pose. You can injure yourself if you do not have the proper alignment. My students are probably bored with me repeatedly talking about alignment in posses, but it's that important. I'll approach a student and suggest or adjust them with an explanation on what needs to be aligned. Most, if not all of my students, want this and appreciate the attention to detail.
At Yoga on High were I receive my Teacher Training they talked about holding poses to long. They said 20 years ago that is how a lot of studios would teach. Many Yogis would get hurt holding these poses for an extended period of time.
I attended a studio about four years ago where we had a bent knee for 5 to 8 minutes with 3 poses right behind each other: Warrior I, Warrior II, and Side Angle pose while holding each for several minutes. This was all done with the same bent leg and we never come out for recovery. The leg was on fire and my body was screaming at me to come out of the pose or at least reduce the stress on the bent leg. But no, I was to proud so I suffered in pain (not real bright). I discontinued this type of practice once I was educated after going through the Teacher Training program.
If you feel any pain or discomfort modify the pose, ask the teacher for help, or skip the pose. When you attend a class it is your class individually not as a group, you decide how deep to go, and how long to hold the pose. I tell my students they can come out of the pose even before I end it and they can modify the pose as needed. As I mentioned in the previous blog, use the props to help you in gradually building confidence, flexibility, and strength. This will help reduce your chance of injury.
Go slow, respect your limits, lean toward the side of safety and these will help prevent injury.
For me, I notice if I do a long slow breath, it tends to keep me out of trouble by giving me more awareness and control over my body.