One of the main focuses of Yoga is somatic longevity and working with the system of your student’s bodies to prevent injuries and promote health.
Due to the nature of the elaborate human body, there are moments where the load-bearing capacity of the soft tissue is not capable of handling the external load that is presented upon it, and an injury occurs.
If someone is experiencing pain or injury, it is as if the engine light of their car is turned on! It is time to heal!
An injury is a communication to the brain to pay attention. They are experienced when the body is taken outside of its normal movement range, muscular load, or integrity of the nervous system and the tissue is damaged. As a Sport Yoga instructor, you make the call of who you are comfortable working with, keeping in mind the student’s safety as the top goal.
Many injuries that happen are due to a lack of mobility within the joint capacity, so when the joint doesn’t move to its greatest potential, and then all of the sudden gets taken outside of that range, the nervous system holds on to the range and injury occurs.
To increase the somatic longevity of joints within your students, it is important to explore different ranges of motion all of the time, with intention and neuromuscular effort. Therefore, when a student comes to your class with a smaller injury, you do have a base of knowledge that can help that student towards recovery.
By understanding your role, and using the opportunity to guide students towards healthy movement patterns, their nervous system can regain new joint range and help work towards an overall healthy body.
Never Attempt to Diagnose
Do not attempt to diagnose a student’s physical condition or suggest going against advice from a physician, and before working with an injured student, you can ask for a physician’s note of clearance for your Yoga class. You are not there to help heal their injury, you are there to guide your student towards a more empowered way of movement and to learn how they approach their movement.
If you have a student who is uncomfortable and experiencing discomfort or pain from a specific posture, make a knowledgeable adjustment that will lead them to be more comfortable. There are a lot of regressions that are in each posture, and you can ask yourself a question such as “What is the one cue I can give this student to have a more comfortable experience right now?”
As the instructor, open communication with your injured students and ask questions to help you really understand what is going on. “How much range of motion does the joint have?”
“Is the pain located in the muscle or elsewhere?” “Where is movement comfortable for this student?”
You are the instructor of this student and remember that you might not under load and you can definitely overload the tissue, so air on the side of regression until you can get a better understanding of their individual situation.
Always work with what is going on with your students on that particular day, and you can help inspire others to regain control of their movement and create a more intimate relationship with themselves.
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