Thursday, January 14, 2016

How Not To Do Yoga

Today I took the first - and I hope last - yoga class I have ever taken that did not include downward dog, or, as far as I could tell virtually any yoga whatsoever. Perhaps I should have been clued in by the look of the other class members, who were almost universally soft, saggy, slouchy, and generally unhealthy looking. But, lets be honest, that describes 98% of the general population and frequently even fitness instructors. Or maybe the instructor, who kept repeating "gentle" yoga to me was trying to give me a clue that this may not have been the class for me. But, by that time, I'd paid my money and was ready to take my chance. 

We did some bizarre shake your hands and legs about warm-up - gently, of course - while all the participants slouched over looking like the S bend on your toilet plumbing. Good grief, simply teaching the class how to stand with a neutral spine and engaged musculature would have been more profitable. 

Then, we lay on the floor for the next half-hour, doing some other non-yoga movements which might have been beneficial for spineless earth worms - probably not even then - but certainly did nothing for this almost exclusively sedentary population. There went the one hour per day when this group of people was not either sitting or lying down and it was spent, guess what - supine! Simply standing for 45 minutes would have been more useful particularly if that standing included some instruction on how to organize the spine and stand correctly

Mountain yoga in the Adamant Range of the Selkirk Mountains,
BC, Canada 

I understand that people have mobility restrictions and disabilities - almost all self-inflicted - but really if people can stand up, they should stand up, and even yoga should be a weight bearing exercise. 

Katy Bowman defines junk movement as "a way of moving that provides short-term fitness benefits at the expense of long-term health." This class didn't even reach the bar for junk food movement. Not only did it confer zero health benefits, it actually detracted from health. You can't make this stuff up.

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