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Sunnyone

Jumping in without a clue, help!

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I need some advice. I want to start yoga but don't know how to pick the right class, teacher and what supplies I need to start. I loved to play softball, volleyball and snow skiing and wakeboarding. Let's put it like this I played hard. Three ACL's  and my back fused at L5 S1.  I stopped most physical activity out of fear of further injury. This past year I was diagnosed with MS. Wow what a life changer. I have realized I can't gone on as I have. It is very important to be as strong as I can physically and mentally to cope with the adventure ahead. I am pretty concerned about hurting my back but know I need to stretch and be strong. Any advice?

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Welcome to our group. Yoga can offer a great deal for anybody. It is good that you asked before starting. You should know that the most common yoga injuries are knee and back injuries, sometimes very severe. But yoga, if done properly, has also provided a great deal of help to heal these two types of injuries as well. Sometimes better than new.

You will have to be very careful with your situation. If you just start going to group classes you could end up making your injuries worse. Do not depend on the teacher in a group class to keep you safe. And you can’t just start on your own at home either, unless you really know what you are doing.

It is important to go to your doctor and/or physiotherapist and find out what you can and can not do. Then find a yoga therapist to help you get started. Don’t worry about the name ‘therapist’ it is just the name that is used. You are from Ogden, Utah which sounds like a place that would have plenty of yoga so you should be able to find someone. Then call this person and explain your situation. You will want to have one or two or more private classes with this person so you understand things to keep you safe in yoga. From there you might start group classes or practice at home. If you find someone to help post the information here and I can have a look to see if you are on the right track if you are unsure.

All you need is you! They will have mats at the studio and you can see which type you like before buying your own. Maybe use folded blanket or blocks but you will see what you need later.

And never allow any yoga teachers or others to touch you. Always tell the teacher of your injuries before class. After the person has become very familiar with your situation and qualified to do so you may then get some benefit from adjustments.

scottcraft, yogafire and Sunnyone like this

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Anahata, thank you so much for your advice! I want to be successful at this so your advice about finding a yoga therapist is extremely helpful. If you don't mind answering another question or two I would be grateful?  What is a yoga therapist? Are there qualifications I should look for? You are right in saying Ogden Utah has many yoga studios. I guess that is part of my confusion. There are so many different types of classes and studios. Once I locate a therapist what kind of class should I be taking? What do you look for in a studio?

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Quote

The Right Yoga Style For You

Choose the type of yoga that suits your personality to build strength, lose weight, or find inner peace
By Natalie Gingerich Mackenzie November 3, 2011

Yoga is the epitome of mind over muscle: Holding those twisty balanced poses takes strength and flexibility, certainly, but even more critical is the ability to stay focused and concentrate. All types of yoga can help you learn this practice of "being in the moment." What's different from style to style is pace, intensity, and degree of spirituality. Use this guide to choose which of the most popular types of yoga best suits you. 

VINYASA
What to expect:
A "flow" of continuous movements of yoga poses. Most classes move fast (think Power Yoga), but there are also gentle "slow flow" classes.
Your first class: Expect tunes, something other styles mostly shun.
Try it if...You want your mat to stand in for a dance floor.
Avoid it if...You're a beginner. Most instructors expect you to know the poses.
Om factor: Varies from strictly posing to several minutes of chanting.
Sweat factor: 8 out of 10

RESTORATIVE
What to Expect:
Relaxing poses that you do lying down with support from blankets or bolsters
Your First Class: You'll rest in each pose for several minutes. You may be led through a guided meditation.
Try it if...Stress is keeping you up at night or giving you headaches.
Avoid it if...Your goal is yoga for weight loss.
Om Factor: You may say a few oms, but mainly you'll sit with your thoughts.
Sweat factor: 2 out of 10

read more at  http://www.prevention.com/fitness/yoga/best-yoga-classes-your-personality

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Thank you for sharing that article. I think slow for me will be the answer until I am more sure of myself. Th article was a good over view.  Thanks!

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As a relative newbie to yoga (I started a little over one year ago), I know the frustration of trying to find the right class. My advice, try them all, there's no wrong yoga style, there's some you may enjoy far more than others. Of course, more than anything else, make sure you discuss any injuries with your class leaders, as well pay close attention to what your body is telling you.

All classes (or at least the ones I've attended) were very welcome to folks with limited knowledge or flexibility...although you should still discuss your situation with the instructor (or front desk)

When I first started, I did video classes for about two months before trying my first live class. There's a few million excellent videos out there. Here's a good place to start https://www.youtube.com/user/YOGABYCANDACE

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Thank you for the link. I think I might put that on the back burner for a bit. I am very appreciative of the advice given thus far! I was speaking with my daughter in law who is a physical therapist assistant about my interest in yoga. She knows my injuries well but lives long distance so she is not available to help hands on at first. She is also in agreement that I seek out one on one with someone like a yoga therapist and not try anything by myself at first. Because of the rods in my back right at the junction of where I bend L5 to S1 it will be critical that I don't bend incorrectly furthering damage. 

Right now I am trying to find a yoga therapist. I have been looking at yoga websites in my area, Ogden Utah.  I am a bit discouraged in the fact that there is no obvious therapist in my area. There is one that looks promising and has 700 hours of the 900 required. When I look at the qualification classes the ones pertaining to traumatic injury are the ones listed above the 700 hour courses. 

Any  suggestions on how to find a yoga therapist?

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Wow you've really been through a lot! I agree it's hugely important to seek out someone knowledgeable and I do think it'd be best to do a few private sessions with that person once you find them. As a total beginner working with some injuries it'll just be easier for both you and the instructor if you're in a one to one setting. I suggest setting up a template in your email explaining what you're looking for - someone with a lot of experience with ACL and back issues. Explain the rods in your back, explain any mobility lost from the ACLs etc, explain that you are looking for someone extremely knowledgeable in these areas and that you'd be so grateful for an introduction if they know of anyone. Then send that email to all the studios around you. There's also something to be said for personal experience. I have taken some extremely disappointing classes with people who had incredible resumes. Just because someone took a lot of courses doesn't mean their education translates in their teaching. If you come across a yoga instructor who has personally dealt with the same things you are dealing with, I would probably trust that person over someone with the 900 hrs, do you know what I mean? So maybe just stay open to listening to who writes back. Remember that whoever writes back will likely be writing in knowing that their responsibility to you is to keep you safe - if they put you in harm's way they could have a lawsuit on their hands, you know what I mean? (Not at all insinuating you would sue someone, but that's how many people in the health industries think- myself included.) On one hand it's unfortunate we live in such a sue-happy country, but on the other hand, I think the fact that we do may help to weed out the people who aren't really qualified in the first place to work with you.

 

Edited to say: Oh! What about talking with your doctor or physical therapist about what movements you should absolutely NOT do? And maybe set up a call between the doctor/therapist and a willing yoga instructor? I'm just thinking about if it were me. I would say no doing a one to one session with a student with these types of injuries. My husband had an ACL tear, so I feel confident I could work with someone with an ACL past, but I know nothing about what to do for rods in the back and to be honest, that scares the heck out of me - I mean what if I cause another injury, you know? However, if I could talk with the doctor who could explain what movements are not advised, I would feel confident that I could design one to one classes around the advice of the doctor. So that might be an option! 

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Hi Sunnyone, I am so glad to hear that you have found someone you know, your daughter-in-law to help you get started.

Yoga therapy is physiotherapy using yoga. And also mental health therapy using yoga, and sometimes many other things. Yoga is always some combination of both but a person will tend to focus more on the area they feel they need. A yoga therapist will be properly trained to deal with specific problems or injuries. Here is a link International Association of Yoga Therapists (IAYT) . If they are not qualified it is their code of ethics to refer to someone that is.

Nearly all regular yoga teachers do not have this training, but it is possible to find one that is very knowledgeable as well. Regular yoga teachers are trained to lead a class. It is completely unreasonable (this is just a statement, not that you were being unreasonable) to expect them to be knowledgeable about all medical conditions. Please be very careful with your injuries. It is your job to keep yourself safe and eventually self-sufficient in yoga.

The yoga therapist will help you find an appropriate class and studio. And hopefully give you the knowledge so you can go to any appropriate class on your own.

Your search may become frustrating at times but you have to fight for it you know? You might try calling some of more established yoga places in your area or physiotherapy facilities. Using the link from above there is a search for Utah. It looks like almost all are in Salt Lake City. If I remember that is a 2 hour drive? Which may seem too far to travel and discouraging. This is the search link https://iayt.site-ym.com/?MemberSearch

Maybe I can offer a different way of thinking to help with this. You used to go snowboarding and water skiing right?. That was an entire days activity and kind of expensive. Maybe now think that your new activity is spending a half day going to do your yoga. And you should only have to go that far at first, eventually you will be able to do something much closer to home.

I suppose I will add this part as well: There are some important things for you to know. In yoga there is a concept that time has no meaning. Most of us have been trained by modern society and this concept becomes nearly impossible to understand, ‘time is money’ ‘ I have to fit in everything I have to do today’. It is important (and difficult) to change this way of thinking. To deal with a recovery or change it is important to understand that tomorrow or a year from now or ten years from now has no meaning. It doesn’t matter. The only thing that matters is that we are doing something good for ourselves and we are moving in the right direction. What happens if you set a goal for a year from now and it doesn’t happen in that time? Anyone would be really disappointed. If you are doing something that makes you feel good and you see progress as you go then a time frame does not matter. And you will work in a way that is much more beneficial for yourself than trying to please a clock or a calendar.

Please keep us updated on developments.

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Anahata gives great advice. You can also just call around physical therapy / physiotherapy offices to see if they have in-house yoga therapists or know.  If you can't find one close to you, it would still be beneficial to learn separate physical therapy exercises to start with so you have a set of exercises to strengthen the weaker parts of your body. If I only do yoga, my chest muscles get worked out primarily, so I supplement with physical therapy exercises (with resistance bands) that strengthen my lats and upper back to balance it out.  Good luck in your search!

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