2012 has been the year of the talk about yoga injuries. The hot topic sprang to the forefront of the online yoga conversation in January, with the publication of the NYT excerpt from William J. Broad’s book, The Science of Yoga.
There has been a lot of talk, in both the yoga blogosphere and the mainstream media, as well as an increased awareness of the dark side of asana. But confusion still reigns, along with a general paranoia of yoga.
Yoga teacher Victoria McColm wanted less talk and more action, so she decided to do something. She created The Contraindication Index for Yoga Asanas (TCIYA) as a resource for the yoga community.
The ebook is a well-organized, thoroughly researched list of common ailments from abdominal to wrist issues. Each condition includes a short description, general guidelines and a list of “contraindicated” asanas.
I have a few issues of my own, so I looked them up in McColm’s ebook. Low Back Issues warranted three pages of postures to avoid, while my other issue, Spinal and Disc, included two pages. The book covers 35 common medical conditions, cross-referenced against 112 fundamental yoga poses.
“When I completed the book,” McColm explained in a press release, “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.”
The relationship between injuries and asana is complex, and of course it’s challenging to reduce it to an alphabetized list. I know from my own experience with my low back that not all of the listed contraindications are bad for me; the book advises avoiding cobra, half-frog and other extensions, which are actually the absolute best thing for my back.
Nevertheless, the book is a valuable resource for a yoga studio or a doctor’s office. Rather than an exhaustive collection, TCIYA is a cheat sheet that professionals can quickly access in the heat of the moment (before class, with a patient) and receive quality information.
The Contraindication Index for Yoga Asanas
Victoria E. McColm
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