Occasionally I hear things that demand a response, a comment, a moment of common sense. I recently had one of these moments (where my jaw dropped) when I heard a woman with a connective tissue disease describing people telling her to try yoga. It would "heal her." No. It won't. It would seriously harm her. There are warnings about this. There are certain physical ailments and issues and body structures that tell you you should not do yoga. Period.
And this reminds me that, as a yoga instructor, I need to be hella clear. Yoga is not a cure all. I can, and must, give my students honest information about things that would preclude their practicing.
I don't know that it is enough for me to tell individuals with health issues to check with their doctors. I don't know it is enough to state "don't do it if it gives you the ouch face." But, beyond providing information and suggesting "check with your doctor," I'm not certain of what more I can do. I can't kick people out of group classes that I am paid by facility to teach. I can refuse to give private instruction, but honestly, providing information is about the end of what I can do.
Yoga gives me a lot. I love practicing and teaching but we as teachers, as members of a yoga community, must be honest. Yoga can help with flexability and strength in mind and body but it cannot fix diseases. It is a practice that can help support you in your life and journey but it will not fix everything.
Be smart and honest about your health. Check with your doctor about your disease and ailments and about whether or not you can or should do certain physical practices. And please, if I tell you "no" or "check with a doctor first" take that as the loving gesture it is meant to be. I'm not being a jerk.
All the love,
Jocelynne Lowans is an animated Yogini-Artist on a mission to deepen the creative experience and growth of the world while remaining a crazy cat lady.