Yoga teachers are at risk of suffering hips problem which might lead to repair or replacement of the damaged hips, experts have warned. Yoga, a group of physical, mental, and spiritual practices or disciplines, is said to have originated from ancient India more than 5,000 years ago. It is widely believed to be one of the first forms of exercise created by humans, bringing physical and psychological benefits to those who practice it across the globe to keep fit or shed weight.
But Benoy Matthews, a leading UK-based physiotherapist, who specialises in hips and knees, called on yoga teachers to apply caution in their quest to meeting the growing the demands for the exercise. He further cautioned on the rise in the number of yoga teachers with serious hip problems, many of whom may require surgery, because they constantly outstretch their bodies. “We all know about the health benefits of yoga – I practise it myself,” he told the BBC.
“But, like anything, it can cause injury. We can’t put it on a pedestal. I don’t want to denounce yoga, after all it’s been going for thousands of years. But you have to understand yourself. What’s achievable for one might not be achievable for others. People tend to do the same set positions, rather than what’s achievable for them. Ego might mean them trying to take a position “all the way” to the end when they should just stop where it’s comfortable. Just because the person next to you can reach all the way doesn’t mean it’s necessary, or desirable, to do the same.”
On his part, Pip White, professional adviser at the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, advised yoga teachers to operate within their strengths when teaching yoga. “Yoga is a fantastic activity for people to do, with lots of benefits for your health and general wellbeing,” he said. “However, as with any form of exercise, it’s important to do it safely and in this case, also understanding your own limits, as we are all built differently. Yoga is not about being in competition with anyone else. If you stay aware of your abilities and practise within your own limits, you will gain all the great benefits this practice has to offer.”
Wendy Haring from the British Wheel of Yoga – the UK’s governing body of the practice – also disclosed that hip injuries are a problem among yoga teachers. “It’s something that I think we have known in the yoga circles for a long time,” she said. “Hip injuries among teachers are certainly a problem in specific schools of yoga, because they make instructors hold poses for a long time and it is not modified for each individual.” A study, published in the British Medical Journal in 2018, said that 64 percent of injuries acquired doing yoga occur in the lower half of the body such as the hip, hamstring and knee.