I’ll be at yin | vin on June 14. I have a friend who is just getting into yoga. She has some back issues in the lumbar spine-herniated disc. Do you think this class would be OK for her?
I saw your classes in the New York Open Center catalog. Is yin practice appropriate for someone with a hip replacement?
Yin is an amazing therapeutic practice for many people, and it can help with some injuries and/ or chronic conditions. However the first thing to do before engaging in anything is
check with your physician
I’ve found many people are reluctant to ask their physician about what movement is healthful for them. Frankly, it might be helpful to be prepared with pen and paper when you ask – both to stay focused on what is being said, and to demonstrate to your physician that you’re listening seriously and prepared to take her advice.
I can’t tell you how often someone asks me a question about what to do and then starts talking as soon as I begin to answer. When I know someone is listening I’m willing to be more detailed in my response. I think that’s true for all of us, not just physicians.
If something your physician says isn’t clear, ask him how you should state it when you write it down. “I’m sorry. I don’t understand. How should I write that?”
This is what’s important in answering both of the questions above:
what’s OK for one person with a condition can be totally contraindicated for another person with that same condition
Let’s start with Terry. I strongly advise against any yin for your friend. I do applaud her for looking into what kind of movement therapies are appropriate for the condition of her disc and back.
Roger Cole gives the following general advice for protecting your back after disk injury:
While your back pain persists, do not bend forward past 90 degrees with straight knees.
Avoid all seated forward bends. (This rules out yin.)
Avoid rounding your back. (This also rules out yin.)
If a pose causes any pain, tingling, or numbness, stop immediately.
In answer to the question about hip replacements and yin:
You should check with your doctor about appropriate activities. Your surgeon ought to have preferred and proven safe suggestions for stretching, and may even have a hand out specific to your procedure, or she may offer a physical therapist referral.
Be especially sure to ask for clear explanations
about which directions of movement may cause joint displacement. This information varies from person to person, so there are no general guidelines upon which you can rely. Yoga stresses joints. If your doctor says yoga is safe for you, classes which are gentle or restorative might be a place to start. Yin yoga is not a good choice.
You might also find this article useful:
In all back and joint injuries, it’s best that to speak to your physician and get an ultra clear idea of what will help to strengthen or improve your range of motion while not putting you at any risk. You need to understand it better than your yoga teacher so that you can contribute meaningfully and safely to what postures work for you and be empowered to ask for the modifications you need.
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