The third part of my series

Reasons not to do yoga #3 – I can’t come to yoga because I  have stiff/sore knees/shoulders/back. I injured myself running/mountain biking/getting out of bed. I have sciatica/a frozen shoulder/hip replacements

Another difficult one to tackle, but I’m going to 😉

FACT: If you do not move your body, it will seize up.

FACT: Those aches and pains that you feel will probably get worse if you don’t move.

FACT: There are very few conditions that mean you can’t practice yoga. In fact, if you can breathe, you can practice yoga.

FACT: Yoga , practiced properly and under the guidance of a qualified teacher, will not make it worse.

OK – if you have broken a limb, or ruptured your ACL, had surgery or something similar, then yes, please don’t come to class until it has healed and your doctor says it’s OK.  But afterwards would be probably a really good time to come to class. Always let the teacher know.

If you are just stiff and sore from working out, then you are probably not actually injured. Unless you felt something “go” while you were exercising and it’s (very) been painful ever since, it isn’t likely to be a “pulled” muscle. If you are sore a day or two after your exercise encounter, it’s because your muscles have been working and they need to stretch. Could be that  a good stretch will sort you out. Indeed, a more regular good stretch will make the stiffness less of an inevitability. Guess where you can get a good stretch?!?:-)

For some of us (most of us even) Some pain in the body is natural. I have pain right now from a spinal injury sustained four years ago. I still practice yoga. I practiced yoga as soon as I could. In fact, if it wasn’t for yoga…

I am going to say something unpopular. Pain isn’t necessarily an indicator that something bad has happened to you. This is very much one of the lessons of yoga. Listening to your body to understand its signals. Sometimes playing your edges. Learning the difference between something that could be described as “challenging,” “a good stretch,” “deep,” and what doesn’t feel right. For beginners this can be anything that they haven’t encountered before. One of the concerned “doesn’t feel right” phrases I have heard many times from new yogis is “I can really feel it in my…” and I always  say “good!”

If you have an injury  – and it isn’t something that requires you to be immobile  –  then we need to make some modifications, but you can still go to yoga. Let the teacher know what is sore, and s/he will tell you how to support that part of your body, and, depending on their expertise, maybe suggest things that might help. Get advice from your physio if you can. I have never met one that doesn’t think yoga is a good idea. Repetitive strain injuries are probably the most common ones I see. We can modify and yoga will get you off the internet for a while 😉

If you have a chronic inflammatory condition such as MS, CFS, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis etc. then again, there is absolutely no reason why you cannot do yoga. Yoga should actually help your condition, but only if you let the teacher know so that they can help to modify the practice for you.  Could be that you don’t go to a Hot Yoga class. I don’t recommend it. for inflammation.  But, depending on your levels of fitness etc. then there are many different styles of Yoga to suit and again, a well trained teacher should know how to help you modify and to explore the practice in a way that is accessible.

Next in the series – how to find that well-trained teacher I keep going on about!