The Value of Practicing Yoga with an Experienced Yoga Instructor


A recent report by the Orthopedic Journal of Sports Medicine discovered a rise in yoga related injuries for older students

 

Yoga is popular, it’s as simple as that, and today more and more older people are embracing the practice attracted by the wealth of health and self care benefits it offers.


However, as the number of yoga students has grown, so too have the number of yoga related injuries being treated.  Bad news whichever way you try to spin it.

A recent article published on the leading website yoga journal.com has found that there has been a marked increase in yoga injuries, particularly for those in the age categories 40 and upwards.  This could be seen as a reflection of the growing number of older students led to yoga on the advice of healthcare professionals or following many years of other exercise disciplines or, for some, very limited exercise habits.

The study by the Orthopedic Journal of Sports Medicine examines injuries over thirteen years starting in 2001, a period of time that also coincides with a large increase in yoga teacher trainings and in the number of opportunities to study and teach yoga.

Although most trainings cover a spectrum of yoga topics, in many cases, only around 20 of those hours are dedicated to anatomy study.

This growth is great news for everyone as it increases choice and accessibility along with employment and experience for yoga teachers. However, currently, the only criteria that needs to be met in order to teach (in most cases) is the completion of a 200hour training.  There are many 200hour yoga trainings around which, like most things in life, can differ in style and quality.  Although most trainings will cover a spectrum of yoga topics, in many instances only around 20 of those 200 hours are dedicated to anatomy study.

Even for an experienced teacher, a class that provides safe sequencing for a large group of students with an array of physical & medical issues can be challenging.

It is unfair to suggest that any brand new teacher would intentionally cause anyone harm but it takes experience, study and understanding of the physical body and a broad range of conditions to safely and effectively lead a class.

With aging bodies comes the inevitable wear and tear of joints, weakening of connective tissues such as ligaments and other musculature changes as well as the range of physical conditions that spring up in later life.  These are all important aspects to consider when teaching an older group of students.

Even for a very experienced teacher, a class that provides safe sequencing for a large group of students with an array of physical & medical issues can be challenging.

This is not to say that a recently qualified teacher does not have the ability to teach a class well, but older students need to be mindful and responsible for their own self care too.

Listen to your own body and be selective about the classes you attend particularly when starting out.  Yoga is all about losing the ego so don’t let your own ego dictate that you attend that fast moving, level 2 class.  Take time to build up your practice with a well informed, experienced teacher making gradual progress to the faster, stronger classes if that appeals.

From a student’s perspective, the more yoga experience and study that a teacher has, the more it will also benefit their own learning. Doing some research to find a class that combines your choice of instructor with the appropriate level is important.

 Inexperience or little knowledge about a condition could unintentionally cause injury.

Although it may be uncomfortable for you to ask an instructor directly, you can take a look online to find out more or chat with other staff and students at the location where you attend class.  Most yoga teachers, regardless of their experience, welcome questions as no teacher would want to knowingly hurt a student but inexperience or limited knowledge about a condition could unintentionally cause injury.

Depending upon the yoga school or tradition the teacher follows, many 200hour graduates may also go ahead and continue in their studies with an additional 300hour teacher training.  These trainings provide practicing teachers with an opportunity to study the whole topic of yoga in more depth including aspects of injury management and yoga therapy.

So take a little time to research further and consider experience, qualifications and ongoing study to find your perfect yoga match.

Ask an Instructor – Alison Scola

Alison Scola

Alison Scola

Alison is an E-RYT 500 yoga instructor,  C-IAYT Yoga Therapist, Licensed Massage Therapist, Reiki Master, Lead Teacher Trainer 

ask an instructor – 10 questions

the very first yoga class you attended?  Ohio in 1994, seeking relief for debilitating back pain.  Divine guidance led me to my mentor & yoga therapist’s Hatha yoga class.

what is it about yoga that inspires you? The opportunity to heal on physical, emotional, energetic, causal, & spiritual levels. A yogic path offers limitless tools for continuous growth & ultimately, to identify as only Love.

what yoga item(s) could you not be without? My mat, blanket, & bolster.

your favorite post yoga class snack?  Water or tea is always nice.

which book would you recommend to a brand new student of yoga?  Moving into Meditation by Anne Cushman.  She articulates beautifully the relationship we are building with ourselves during practice.

if you could teach a class anywhere in the world, where would it be? A  sunrise class at Hanalei Bay on the island of Kauai, my favorite place on earth.

type of class you like to attend when you are not the instructor? Those classes that keep a focus on holding space for healing & self discovery.

favorite thing to do if not doing yoga?  Outside of asana practice I love dancing, running, swimming, hiking, & singing.

if you weren’t a yoga instructor?  If I wasn’t a yoga therapist/massage therapist…. I would devote myself wholly to music & dance.

and finally……

as a yoga instructor, what do you hope a new student takes away from your class?  

My greatest wish is that a new student finds a place where they can feel safe, get quiet, & begin to hear & sense the voice within.

Alison is an experienced yoga teacher, yoga therapist and teacher trainer.  E-RYT 500, C-IAYT Yoga Therapist, Licensed Massage Therapist, Reiki Master & Lead Teacher Trainer.

You can contact Alison by email alisonscola@gmail.com

Or find out more about her schedule via her website www.alisonscola.com

 

Ask an instructor – Susan Kjesbo

Susan Kjesbo
Susan Kjesbo – certified yoga therapist

Susan Kjesbo

Susan is a yoga instructor and certified yoga therapist (C-IAYT). Her teaching expertise includes therapeutic yoga, restorative, yoga for seniors & Yoga Tune Up

ask an instructor – 10 questions 

the very first yoga class you attended? Laguna Beach recreation dept. My instructor used an Indian rug instead of a mat!

what is it about yoga that inspires you?  Yoga is transformative from the inside, outside, mind and body

what yoga item(s) could you not be without? If I could only pick one, my mat. It is an oasis to me.

your favorite post yoga class snack?  Hmm don’t really have one but maybe a “green drink”.

which book would you recommend to a brand new student of yoga? Depends on the interest. Autobiography of a Yogi (Paramahansa Yogananda),  Meditations from the Mat (Rolf Gates), Yoga for Osteoporosis (Dr Loren Fishman).  Some people are interested in the spiritual or physical aspects, others the historical or philosophical aspects. Starting with what interests you will keep you interested!

if you could teach a class anywhere in the world, where would it be? I am passionate about travel and could easily give you an exotic place however where the students are engaged and present is the most rewarding and exciting to me.

type of class you like to attend when you are not the instructor? My practice is changing. I like a class that is not hot fast yoga but one where I can connect to my body on that day.

favorite thing to do if not doing yoga? Hike, travel

if you weren’t a yoga instructor? I was an elementary art teacher prior to teaching yoga. I would go back to that.

and finally……

as a yoga instructor, what do you hope a new student takes away from your class?  A Connection to their body and the desire to try another class (of any kind of yoga).

learn more about Susan and her teaching schedule at  www.susankjesbo.com

to contact Susan yoga@susankjesbo.com

ask an instructor – Jessica Seabern

Jessica Seabern - yoga teacher and teacher trainer
Jessica Seabern – yoga teacher and teacher trainer

Jessica Seabern

Jessica is a yoga teacher and YogaWorks teacher trainer

ask an instructor – 10 questions. 

the very first yoga class you attended? I can’t remember when but recall being bored!

what is it about yoga that inspires you? How strong it makes me physically & mentally.

what yoga item(s) could you not be without?  Cotton yoga pants (hard tail).  Universalyogi mats are my fave.

your favorite post yoga class snack?   Whole bowl – cabbage, spinach, brown rice, beans, avocado, hot sauce!

which book would you recommend to a brand new student of yoga?  ‘The Heart of Yoga’ by TKV Desikachar is good for beginners.

if you could teach a class anywhere in the world, where would it be?  Harbour Island, Bahamas Pink Sands Beach – I lead retreats there!

type of class you like to attend when you are not the instructor? Flow with creative & intelligent sequencing, not exhausting but empowering.

favorite thing to do if not doing yoga? Beach and travel.

if you weren’t a yoga instructor?  A travel correspondent/journalist would be my first choice.

and finally……

as a yoga instructor, what do you hope a new student takes away from your class?  Better knowledge of yoga & burning desire to learn more.

 

Jessica is leading a Teacher Training at YogaWorks Mission Viejo in Feb. 2017 and a retreat in the Bahamas late February 2017.

Visit www.universalyogis.com for retreat info

http://www.yogaworks.com/yoga-teacher-training/jessica-seabern-mission-viejo-february-2017 for TT info.

ask an instructor – Nicole Quibodeaux

Nicole Quibodeaux - yoga, yoga tune up & pilates instructor
Nicole Quibodeaux – yoga, yoga tune up & pilates instructor

Nicole Quibodeaux

Nicole is a yoga tune up (yoga with therapy balls) teacher and teacher trainer and a pilates instructor

ask an instructor – 10 questions answered in just 8 words. 

the very first yoga class you attended? Prenatal Yoga at Mindful Body, San Francisco

what is it about yoga that inspires you? finding deeper relationship with self through the body

what yoga item(s) could you not be without? Yoga Tune Up® therapy balls, blocks, blanket, strap

your favorite post yoga class snack?  Green smoothie or cold brew coffee!

which book would you recommend to a brand new student of yoga? Yoga: Fascia, Anatomy & Movement by Joanne Sarah Avison

if you could teach a class anywhere in the world, where would it be? Big Sur

type of class you like to attend when you are not the instructor? everything from strength classes to aerial yoga

favorite thing to do if not doing yoga? spending quality time with family & friends

if you weren’t a yoga instructor? a somatic therapist (holistic therapy integrating mental, emotional, spiritual and physical)

and finally……

as a yoga instructor, what do you hope a new student takes away from your class?  better connection to themselves and sense of wholeness

learn more about Nicole and her teaching schedule at  www.movementreform.com

you can contact Nicole direct on  quibodeaux@gmail.com.