Over the weekend, I had the opportunity to test out my hatha vinyasa sequence on
my sister and her fiancé. During YTT theory sessions, we’ve been practicing creating
multilevel sequences with regressions and progressions, so I was confident that it
would be a manageable sequence for my (willing and enthusiastic) participants.
What I did not foresee were the old injuries that my sister's fiancé came with. He had
broken his left elbow while riding a bike at six years old, lost a bit of his hamstring to
a knee cap reconstruction, and had a bad lower back from daily computer work.
These injuries made most of my sequence, even at beginner level, difficult for him. It
was also a massive challenge for me to think of regressions for him and even adapt
my cues to guide him as well.
Standing balances were difficult on his left knee, but we realised it was because he
was hyperextending or "locking" his knee to maintain his balance. Constant
reminders to maintain a micro bend in his knee were necessary to have him engage
the muscles around the knee and in his quads.
Poses that required him to place his knee on the floor and put weight on his knee,
like Low Crescent Lunge or Half Splits (Ardha Hanumanasana) were also painful for
him. For Low Crescent Lunge with knee on the ground, we adapted it to a Lizard
Lunge with knees off the ground, keeping him stable with his hands on blocks on the
floor but still allowing him to feel a stretch in his front leg's hamstrings and back leg's
hip flexors. I changed Half Split to Janu Sirsanana, and this allowed him to feel the
same stretch in his extended leg’s hamstring and in his lower back without worrying
about the pain in his knee.
I believe yoga can be for everybody (and every body), but you need to respect your
body and its limits and take regressions where necessary to strengthen and stretch
the body safely.
200HR YTT May’21 Weekday