Benefits and Contraindications of Yoga Task Familiarize yourself with the different movements of the spine commonly seen in a balanced yoga class...neutral, flexion, extensions, lateral bends, rotations and inversions. Example: Inversions What is the max time to keep a student in an inversion? The rule of thumb for most is a few minutes. Begin with 1-2 minutes per session and over time work into 3-5 minutes or as is comfortable for you. What posture helps counter balance an inversion? Grounding postures work best. Allow the blood flow to slowly recirculate in a neutral posture, such as mountain or corpse pose. If a student has a reaction to an inversion, how do you assist? Slowly help them out of the posture and allow them to regain their composure. Encourage them to come out of inversions more slowly, especially if they have low blood pressure. What are the benefits of inversions? Energizing the body, improve circulation, relieve headaches, strengthen upper body, deliver fresh blood supply to the brain, etc. How do we outweigh the pro’s vs. con’s? Yoga can be a great way to reduce stress, improve clarity of mind, improve mobility and flexibility, support immunity, soothes and calms the nervous system, strengthen body, improve digestion, burn toxins, healthier muscles, connective tissue and bones. Much like the medical field, our yoga practice is ever evolving. Keep abreast of scientific findings and expand your yoga practice accordingly. As we continue to learn more about our physical and energetic body, what we know as “fact” will continue to change. Embrace this growth through non-attachment. Noteworthy... Respect your scope of practice. When in doubt, refer to YogaAlliance.org on their suggested guidelines for scope of practice. Those with osteoporosis should use care in forward folds. Suggest the use of blocks to reduce the pressure put on the spine while in a fold. This pressure can cause small fractures in the spine for those with osteoporosis. Those with high blood pressure should use caution in inversions. Perhaps a table top is better suited than downward facing dog, in this case. Have your “modification go to’s” in your back pocket to share with these folks. Those with vertigo may benefit from propping their head and shoulders up while in corpse pose. You may also teach your student how to build a ramp with two blocks and a bolster, if available. Prenatal Yoga While this is not a comprehensive Prenatal Yoga training, we want to be prepared should a prenatal student arrive unexpectedly. Be sure the student has an established yoga practice before permitting her into class. If she is new to yoga, it is not recommended to begin yoga, although honor the students allowances given by her medical doctor. I recommend she take a place in the back row to free her to take any modifications needed, and not to distract other students. The pregnant student must not be on her back for more then a few minutes over the course of class, and is to turn to her left side, rather than her right, from the side position. A ramp is suggested for the pregnant student during savasana. When in doubt or in high risk, refer out to a certified prenatal yoga teacher. It is best to have a referral network in place.
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