The ‘Push to Hard’ Yoga Student

After reading an interesting article on Yogi Times today I started thinking about injury in yoga.  To see that injuries from DOING yoga is on the rise, is concerning, and although this was an American study the UK often follows their trends. The sad thing is though I wasn’t shocked.

I’m a fairly new teacher but even I have already experienced all different types of students. One type of student does stick out for me, and its very relevant to this research. It’s the ‘push to far’ student. I have been in this camp, and still to this day float back into it so I am not judging here!

In todays society we are encouraged to push hard, always be trying to move on, give that extra bit more and so on. The gym culture (as much as I love it) has been a big influencer on this for both men and women. If you’re not bleeding from your eyes you’re not working hard enough etc. etc. I’m all for pushing and breaking boundaries. I have a ‘beast mode’ that I like to crack out when I feel the need. Yoga however is not the place for this.

Yoga, for me anyway, is about coming into yourself, getting to know your body and being kind. Yes I am all for ‘playing with the edge’ as I call it, I like to go to where my body (mind and spirt) feel is the edge, and enjoy that sensation. You can learn a lot about yourself by doing this. I am however not on-board with stretching and forcing yourself into positions that just aren’t right for you.

I try to encourage everyone in my class to go to where they feel comfortable, make the right choices for their body on that day. Tomorrow it might be different, next week, really different, last week you might have been able to do it but today it just isn’t happening, that’s life.

You will always however get those students who are determined they will get their heads to their shins, no matter how much it rounds their back and locks out their knees. For a teacher like me that can be frustrating to watch, I offer as much gentle persuasion as possible but in the end, it is up to you as a student to make the right choices. I would offer this advice however;

Leave the push hard attitude at the door. My god life is already too hard, too fast paced, to exhausting. Come into class and come into yourself. Learn about your body, your mind, your breathing, leave no stone unturned but be kind to yourself whilst you explore. Trust me you will probably ache after class even if you have taken it ‘easy’ you are doing things with your body you haven’t done since you were a child (think happy baby). Don’t give your body a hard time, allow it to open, to release and perhaps even transfer this to your emotions. Give yourself a break and encourage, don’t punish!

Now if I can listen to my own advice as well we will all be on the right track!