Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Yoga for Students with Pre-Existing Medical Conditions

find the right instructor
By Sangeetha Saran

Yoga is generally safe and beneficial for a wide range of health issues. However certain pre-existing medical conditions may not benefit from regular practice. Students should be mindful of how their health and yoga practice interact. The following tips are helpful for students with a pre-existing medical condition.

Talk to the Doctor

Students with any pre-existing health concerns should consult with their physician prior to beginning a new yoga practice or changing their usual routine. Their doctor is more knowledgeable about their specific condition and can advise against or for certain movements or postures. While you may have detailed information about yoga you cannot speak for medical concerns.

Educate Themselves

A student with a pre-existing condition should make all efforts to educate themselves on their condition and what they need to do to keep their health in check. This means not only talking with their doctor but also finding out what they can do in regards to their yoga practice and if there are any restrictions they need to be aware of.

Finding the Right Instructor

There may be an instructor who is more knowledgeable in working with a certain pre-existing condition. Encourage students to find the right instructor for them and their needs. A student who may have glaucoma or a cardiovascular issue may need a class that does not move through inversions or a modified sequence.

Inform the Studio about Medical Concerns

Similar to finding the right instructor a new yoga student should enclose any information about their pre-existing condition that the studio may need to know for their safety. Since the student's health and well being is the studio's main concern the studio management can decide whether or not the student should continue to practice at their studio.

Listen to their Bodies

All yoga students should be encouraged to listen to their bodies to avoid pushing themselves too far and risking injury. If a student feels discomfort, pain, dizziness or ill they should stop immediately. The body is their measure of health and if it says otherwise students should not try to push their limits and risk harm.

Yoga Safety Tips for Students with Medical Conditions

While the many health benefits of yoga receive the most attention there are scenarios where being mindful of safety is key. Students who may have a medical condition such as high blood pressure or may be pregnant need to approach their yoga practice with caution. Here are some ways you can help students practice safely while enjoying the full benefits of yoga.

Consult a Physician - Anyone who is beginning a new fitness program should consult their doctor before starting to make sure they are safe to do so. Encourage students who have concerns about their health and yoga to talk to their doctor who knows more about their particular condition.

Listening to the Body- While students may be watching you for instruction on the asanas they also need to keep an ear to what their body says. Advise students not to strain themselves just to reach a certain pose and to stop if they feel pain or discomfort. Remind students that yoga is non-competitive and going beyond their limits is not what the practice is about.

High Blood Pressure Concerns - Regular yoga practice helps lower blood pressure but there are some guidelines that should be followed. Students with HBP, heart or circulation issues should avoid poses where the head is below the heart and poses that increase heart rate. They should also control their breathing and avoid holding their breath.

Pregnancy Concerns - While yoga provides many benefits during pregnancy students should approach their practice with caution. Some poses may need to be modified or they should avoid certain poses altogether. Encourage pregnant students to look into prenatal yoga classes if they are offered. These specialized classes incorporate the postures that are safest to use during pregnancy while maintaining students' safety.

Yoga during Menstruation - There are several myths around doing yoga during menstruation. However, not all women are the same. Women who are menstruating may find pain relief from cramps in certain poses or may wish to avoid yoga practice during this time. Women who are menstruating should listen to their bodies during yoga practice and avoid poses that cause pain or discomfort.

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parvezbdjsr said...

Students should be mindful of how their health and yoga practice interact.

Mary Wilson said...

A student with a pre-existing condition should make all efforts to educate themselves on their condition and what they need to do to keep their health in check.