Yoga at Brandt Fitness and Self Defense in Fort Worth

“Honor the suggestions of pain”

I struggle with how to explain to my students why they should modify a pose if they feel pain. There are always students who “push” themselves to complete the class in the most advanced way whether they need to or not.  I have had students who do this everywhere I’ve taught, but notice even more of this “push it to the limits” outlook now that I am working with CrossFitters.  I recently picked up my copy of “Anatomy of Hatha Yoga” to re-read it and found the perfect way to explain this in the first few pages.  Here is the excerpt:

“Pushing yourself into a painful stretch will not only court injury, it will also create a state of fear and anxiety, and your nervous system will store those memories and thwart your efforts to recreate the posture. Pain is a gift; it tells us that some problem has developed.”

More simply put: if you move into an advanced pose when it causes pain, you can cause injury as well as inhibit yourself from reaching that pose in the future.  This advice is not only helpful in yoga but in everything physical that we do (ahem, CrossFitters). Pushing ourselves to achieve great physical feats is a good thing but we have to learn to recognize signs in our bodies that we are pushing too far. The ability to recognize pain and honor what it is telling us is really valuable. So don’t be afraid to speak up in a class and ask for a modification if something doesn’t work for you!


2 responses

  1. Mongoose

    I like what you said Sarah. That is a great way to explain how people should slow down and listen to their bodies. In relation to crossfit, form and consistency always come first before advancing the movement. However, I think a “push it to the limit” mentality can also be the best way to improve Yourself physically and mentally.

    What I mean by that is that its important to know the difference between the kind of pain Sarah is talking about where it is best to slow down when you preform a movement your physically not ready for, and the kind of pain that burns and feels uncomfortable when preforming movements that your fully capable of. At this point I totally believe in pushing the limits. Ignoring what your body is telling you, and overcoming that exhaustion, burning, and uncomfortable feeling will bring us serious improvement.

    January 20, 2011 at 0:00

  2. well said

    January 20, 2011 at 0:00

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