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Being safe about yoga

Published: Tuesday, Feb. 21 2012 4:00 p.m. MST

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Nikki Grace
Cottonwood Heights, UT

In 2002 I was certified by the Expanding Light School of Yoga in the tradition of Ananda at a community organized by a direct disciple of Paramhansa Yogananda. The certification required a month long yoga intensive and passing a very comprehensive set of tests. Since then I have been nationally registered with Yoga Alliance. I occassionally teach at yoga studios or resorts, I had preferred private lessons with students in my home. Most of my private lesson students were men who didn't want to go into public classes initially not knowing what they were doing, also I had students who had issues physical or emotional that they needed to overcome before they went into public classes. Some years past, the State of Utah declared my home teaching to be a gym or health facility, I stopped teaching private lessons as I did not want the bureacratic oversight of the state, buying licenses, etc. This is a two edge sword, governmental licensing is good and bad. I have also been in classes at Recreation Centers where the instructors were untrained and said things like they were going for a "yoga like" experience. I wrote to the director of one Recreation Facility and asked him to rename the classes "stretching" and not to call them yoga classes, or course he ignored me, as hiring a legitimate yoga teacher would be more expensive. Legitimate yoga should not lead to injury, you are not to go into pain or extend beyond your easily accessed capabilities. If you want aerobics or acrobatics, do that, don't try to get it out of yoga and please don't teach yoga if you are untrained. My advice, research the various traditions of yoga and find a teacher certified by an accredited school in a tradition that is in line with your capablities and intentions. Check out Yoga Alliance website for accredited teachers in your area.

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