Sunday, April 08, 2018

Working with Yoga Students Who Have Hip Replacements

yoga students who have hip replacements
By Bhavan Kumar 

Any posture has some degree of risk. The picture of Virasana brings to mind the contraindications regarding knees and pre-existing knee conditions. What does this have to do with hip replacements? Just getting to the floor after a hip replacement presents some degree of risk and physicians  may differ regarding postures they approve.

During the times when you have your students, as a teacher, it's your job to care for them in a way that supports their physical health. Many students attend yoga for benefits far beyond the physical. However, the physical benefits can't be denied. If you have a student who has dealt with a hip replacement surgery, it's important to handle them with care. Remember the following points when a student walks into your studio with a hip replacement. 

Length of Time 

When a yoga student comes in and tells you that they've had a hip replacement, one of the first questions, you need to find out how long ago the hip replacement surgery was. The difference in length of time is major. If they had hip replacement surgery two months prior, they'll have a different experience than they would if the surgery happened six months prior. Typically, it's not the greatest idea to begin a yoga practice within six months of surgery. It also depends on the type of hip replacement surgery they had. Once you gain clarity on how long it's bee since they had the surgery, you'll be able to get a better assessment of how to move forward. 

Doctor's Orders

When a student has walked into your studio and tells you they've had a hip replacement surgery, it's also important to find out if they've received their doctor's permission. You have to think about it from a business perspective as well. You don't want to be held liable for an injury you could've helped to prevent. If you're not familiar with the details of hip replacement surgeries, it's also a good idea to establish a certain precedent. 

If a student wants to practice and they've had surgery, they need to bring a doctor's note that gives them clearance to go ahead and participate in the class. If they don't have clearance, they can't join in. When it comes to insurance and liabilities, you don't want to get yourself in trouble. It's wise to lean more on the safe side and see a note from a doctor's office. Even when you get the doctor's note, it's still important to be careful throughout the practice. 

Pose Modifications 

One of the best ways to be careful involves pose modifications. Some of the poses a student might've loved doing are impossible shortly after a hip surgery. This isn't to say that those poses will remain impossible. It's just important to remember that it'll take some time and practice to find a new normal within the body. A simple pose like Child's Pose is very comforting for most. However, someone with a hip replacement can dislocate their hip with this move. For child's pose, a student sits on their knees and feet. They lean their body forward toward the floor. 

That process of moving the upper body to the floor can be catastrophic. In this case, the proper modification involves sitting upright and staying there. Eagle Pose is another popular pose in a yoga practice. With this pose, a student stands up and wraps one leg around the other while the knees are slightly bent. After a hip replacement surgery, this move can be quite challenging and painful to execute. Instead, provide a modification where the student doesn't rotate their leg around at the usual angle. They can still do the move, but not at the full rotation. 

Educational Research

Since you're a yoga teacher, it's very important to educate yourself on the types of injuries your students can potentially deal with. When you're knowledgeable, you can confidently help your students experience the restoration they desire as they ease back into their beloved yoga practice. Read books, attend seminars and keep a few medical professionals on speed dial for those times when you have questions. The more you know, the more powerful you'll be in the studio.

© Copyright – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division

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Saturday, April 07, 2018

Standing Out From the Yoga Instructor Crowd

yoga instruction field
By Kathryn Boland

Have you noticed the amount of competition in the yoga instruction field? What have you done to “stand out” from those competing for the same jobs? Or to reconcile with competition in tension with true yogic values?  
Some instructors may teach one to a few classes a week, volunteer with their teaching, or do sessions for friends and family in a private context. Those things considered, there are still many, many teachers out there looking for teaching work to fully supply or significantly supplement their income (and, of course, experience all of the other wonderful things about the work) - outpacing the steady rise of yoga’s popularity in the West. 
A question arises from all of this - who sinks and who swims?  It feels harsh to talk about living, feeling people in these ways, but that’s how capitalism does. We need be in a certain amount of alignment with the capitalist system in which we operate. Employers are largely in control of decisions that will lead to who succeeds and who struggles. By and large, they make their choices based upon what they believe is best for their businesses.

Sometimes those decisions are wise, and sometimes they’re not. They’re human beings who make mistakes. Either way, often there are people involved who have to be disappointed, sometimes hurt. None of us want to see fellow instructors disappointed or hurt. We of course also need to be of service to others; our practice, and simply being a decent person in the world, calls for it. 
Yet if everyone were to put others completely before themselves, with a result of self-harm, would anybody really be better off? We must care for ourselves so that we can care for others. As long as we act with integrity, honesty, and kindness, we do not have to feel guilty for our success - by yoga’s moral code or that of any other way of living. 
There is always a slightly uncomfortable tension between true yoga and the business of yoga in a capitalist society. In my view, if operating within a capitalist framework is what it takes to make yoga accessible to people in these culture, then certain compromises are worth it. Again, as long as we act by our values, we aren’t compromising yoga’s truest, deepest essence. Go ahead and seeks out as many opportunities as you desire and can feasibly be granted.

Audition with all your heart and soul. Let yourself be joyful when you are granted opportunities. Also be joyful for others when they are granted opportunities! Let yourself experience natural sadness when an opportunity doesn’t work out, and be there to comfort others when they experience that sadness. This is the kind of connection with authentic self that will also help you to stand out from the crowd of other instructors. 
No one is better at being you than you! A common mistake of young instructors is to imitate their favorite teachers. You’re not as good at being someone else as you are at being you! People can smell inauthenticity from a mile away, so to speak. It’s not compelling or enjoyable. It won’t get you jobs or people in your classes. No one else is you, as well, so that right there sets you apart to at least some degree! 

Second, be the best you you can be. Keep up with continuing education, refine your sequences, and seek feedback about your teaching. Practice regularly. Attend to your self-care. Maintain strong social ties and connection to things apart from yoga that light you up. Seek to offer your students the most whole, healthy, and capable version of yourself. 
That being said, you will make mistakes. You won’t be perfect. Another myth about yoga instructors out there is that we are always morally upstanding, and always make the healthiest choices. If that were true, we wouldn’t need yoga. We would have reached Samadhi. By and large, we do our bests to practice what we preach. But we’re human! Any expectation, from ourselves or from others, to always act in perfect adherence to yogic values is unfair and unrealistic. 

Another way to stand out from the yoga instructor crowd is to leverage your unique experience. No resume nor life story is the same. Do you have training in math and science? Pique your students’ interest in the physics, geometry, and anatomy involved with yoga. A trained musician or singer? Offer your students live music or singing to open and close classes. 
Are you a dancer/choreographer? Use your sense of movement and the body to craft enjoyable and intriguing sequences for your students. Office/management experience? Be great at organizing and promoting your business, as well as connecting with other businesses and clients. The point is to offer yourself in the fullness of who you are. By the reasoning of Deepak Chopra’s Law of Attraction, the opportunities that align with that fullness will come your way. If you focus on the goal, rather than the competition in the way of reaching it, they’ll be nothing stopping that Attraction. 

© Copyright – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division

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