Low back injuries, high blood pressure, history or risk of stroke, neck injuries, knee injuries and headaches top the list.Practitioners with common medical conditions should educate themselves in order to avoid injury. New book provides necessary guidance. With Yoga Journal reporting that 20.4 million Americans are now practicing yoga and New Year’s resolutions right around the corner, you probably know someone who’s jumping, head first, into yoga. One woman has made it her mission to make them stop and think first. Victoria McColm, author of “The Contraindication Index for Yoga Asanas,” believes that education is the first act of real wellbeing, especially for individuals who have medical conditions or injuries that might be worsened by yoga.
“Yoga contraindications and medical conditions are somewhat glossed over in yoga teacher training. Many of my teaching colleagues were looking for more training on the topic, but it wasn’t available, so I set out to create it.” McColm explains. “When I completed the book, I was a little shocked. Pulling all of the yoga contraindication information into a single place really shows how substantial it is and how many practitioners could be at risk.”
Inspired by the controversy surrounding the New York Times Magazine article “How Yoga Can Wreck Your Body,” McColm, a registered yoga teacher who’s been practicing for seven years, wrote “The Contraindication Index for Yoga Asanas” to help yoga practitioners, instructors and health care professionals understand how to modify or avoid particular poses, or asanas, in relation to specific injuries and ailments. Her book details 35 all-too-common medical conditions, cross-referenced against 112 fundamental yoga poses.
“You always hear that line, ‘Consult a physician before you begin a new physical activity.’ But how many people really do it? And how many physicians truly understand the complex postures well enough to advise people accurately?” she asks. “The truth is, you are the only person ultimately responsible for making sure your practice is safe.”
Prevent Yoga Injury believes that the key to practitioner safety is to put information in their hands. Students can reduce their risk of injury greatly by educating themselves on their contraindication and being the driver of discussion with their doctor and qualified yoga instructor. Individuals who have a home practice, utilizing DVD or streaming video instruction, are at the highest risk of injury, since they lack the ability to ask questions or dialogue about their contraindication with a trained instructor.
“Really, I want my book to be a guide for anyone who wants to know how yoga can be tailored to fit all kinds of people, with a variety of potentially limiting conditions,” McColm says. “Yoga is for everyone and is totally safe when practiced with the right information, instruction and attitude,” she asserts, “and I just want everyone to know that.”
Prevent Yoga Injury was launched in fall 2012 as a one-stop-shop for reliable information on yoga safety. The company goal is to make the issue of yoga injuries, a non-issue, through information, education and dialogue. “The Contraindication Index for Yoga Asanas” is the only book of yoga contraindications available. It is the first publication of Prevent Yoga Injury.