One of the things I imagine my regular clients get tired of hearing me say is some version of “No Pain No Gain is bullshit.” This Cowboy Up mentality, a mainstay in Western fitness paradigms, aren’t excluded from yoga. In my thirty-five plus years on the mat, I’ve experienced the width and breadth of yoga practices. In a 2017 study, the University of Sydney published a study that showed ten percent of people who try yoga injure themselves, and up to twenty-five percent of people exacerbate existing injuries.
Hold up, Bitch. I thought yoga is supposed to be GOOD for you.
A yoga practice focused on healthy alignment and mindfulness for your joints, and spinal health IS good for you. (Come to my yoga classes, chingonas!) But injuries aren’t limited to yoga. It doesn’t matter what fad worthy program you are working if you are moving too fast for the intensity and weight of the exercise, injuries are a foregone conclusion. And those statistics go up in proportion to the trips we’ve taken around the sun.
In my time teaching yoga in gyms and recreation centers, I see in practice the belief that if a little bit of exercise is right for me, then MORE is better. I see new fitness programs that promote this heavier, harder, faster bias to the detriment of many of my clients. Right now, this very second I am clicking the keys, I have no less than three clients recovering from injuries sustained in another exercise class.
Craziness. Tear it up. Body abuse. Okay, that last one is a bit blatant, but they are all the same barmy business.
I say it in every single Beginning Yoga class. “Pain is your body’s warning system. If you are experiencing pain, you are causing damage.”
It’s one thing to feel sore the day or two after a workout, but sharp, burning, or tearing pain is a direct statement from your body. “You are causing damage, asshole!”
This is going to be particularly crucial after our hibernation. I meant to say quarantine. Some of you have been persistent and motivated to get out of the house to exercise or having the resources to invest in some equipment for a home gym.
The rest of us have been lying in a fetal position, counting the passing days in terms of wine bottles. Okay, that’s how I’d LIKE to have been spending the last month, but I haven’t. Oh, I’ve been in the fetal position, but only because I’ve pulled the entire right side of my ribcage loose from coughing.
It’s all good. I’m alive.
I’m going to be doing some online classes and gearing up an actual yoga channel. It means starting over from scratch. And it’s gonna hurt. It only takes three weeks for people who workout to lose muscle mass on a break. I’m looking at thirty-three days, bitches.
This isn’t a simulation. You are going to see me working on my own baby steps.