Yoga Therapy Training 

 Yoga Therapy Cheat Sheet
For Busy Yoga Teachers

Your yoga class will have students with all sorts of pains, conditions, infections, problems and ailments.  No matter how long you’ve been teaching yoga, it’s always a good idea to brush up on your yoga therapy precautions.

Yoga Therapy Cheat Sheet 

Arthritis

  • Stiff, non-inflamed joints benefit from yoga
  • Hot, inflamed joints need rest
  • Do not put weight on the joints if there is any pain

Back Pain (prolapsed disc & sciatica)

  • Care with forward and side bends
  • Care with shoulderstand
  • May benefit from backbends

Back Pain (lumbago)

  • Care with all back movements

Chest Conditions

  • Emphasize exhalation
  • Breathing exercises may be beneficial if there is no stress involved
  • Care with strong chest openers (e.g. Wheel)

Colds & Flu

  • No yoga!

Contraceptive Coil

  • No abdominal lift

Depression

  • Care with some visualisations
  • Concentration on more open hearted postures                                          

Ear Infection

  • No head lower than heart positions

Epilepsy

  • No inversion
  • Care with balances
  • Care with breathing exercises
  • Care with candle gazing

Eye Trouble (detached retina, glaucoma)

  • No inversions
  • No head lower than heart position

Hearing Problems

  • Care with balance postures
  • Ask students with poor hearing to put their mats closer to you

Heart Conditions

  • No inversions
  • No breath retention
  • Take care with strong backbends with arms overhead

Hiatus Hernia

  • No inversions
  • Take care with strong backbends
  • No abdominal lifts
  • Care with forward folds
  • Care with twisting movements

High blood pressure

  • No inversions (e.g. child pose, standing forward bend, downward facing dog)
  • No breath retention
  • Take care with strong back bends

Hyper flexibility

  • Care with flexing too much
  • Strengthening postures are beneficial

Hyperactive Thyroid

  • Care with strong head back poses (e.g. camel, cobra)
  • Care with shoulderstand

Knee Pain

  • Care with kneeling (use padding)
  • Care with lunges

ME

  • Care with over exertion

Menstruation                             

  • No inversion
  • No abdominal lift

Migraine 

  • Care with candle gazing

Neck Pain

  • No shoulderstand, plough or strong backbends

Osteoporosis

  • Care with wrists (yoga is usually beneficial for osteoporosis)

Panic Attacks

  • Care with some breathing exercises
  • Care with some visualisations

Post Operation

  • Yoga should not be practiced up to 6 months for some operations

Pregnancy

  • No yoga until after 16 weeks
  • No inversion or postures involving abdominal strain
  • No lying on abdomen when bump shows
  • No lying on back for relaxation

Sacro-iliac issues

  • Care with asymmetrical back bends (e.g. Nataraja)

Sinus Infections

  • No head down positions
  • Care with breathing exercises

Stomach Ulcers

  • No strong stretches or contractions

Varicose Veins 

  • No sitting for extended periods on heels (e.g. Hero pose)

Vertigo

  • Care with balance and back postures


How To Use The Yoga Therapy Cheat Sheet

Option 1
Observing Students 

Before arriving at your class, open up your Yoga Teacher Folder (folder filled with useful yoga teacher goodies) and look through your student’s Yoga Questionnaire Forms and take a look at the “Yoga Therapy Cheat Sheet”  to double check the asansa the student(s) are advised to avoid.

OK, time for an example…

An hour before your class starts, you pick up your trusty Yoga Teacher Folder and flick through the Yoga Questionnaire Forms until you get to Jane Higgenbottom and see she has arthritis in both wrists.  You then flick to your trusty “Yoga Therapy Cheat Sheet” and read:  “Stiff, non-inflamed joints benefit from yoga.  Hot, inflamed joints need rest.  Do not put weight on the joints if there is any pain.”

When you’re walking around your class observing students and you see Jane Higgenbottom is struggling with Downward Facing Dog, you remember that she has arthritis within her wrists.  So, you walk up to Jane and say something like: “Jane,  try this instead”.   And you show her how to perform Dolphin Pose which will take the pressure off her wrists.

My Yoga Teacher Folder Includes The following Forms

Option 2
Print & Give To Students 

Unless you teach bionic humans from Planet Bingabongbong, your class will be chock full with students with all sorts of pains, conditions, infections, problems and ailments. So, why not print out the “Yoga Therapy Cheat Sheet” (available within the Yoga Teacher Lesson Plan Kit) and hand them out to all your students.

Students love receiving class handouts.  If you like the idea of giving your students eye catching, professional looking yoga class handouts, there are 201 of them within the Yoga Teacher Lesson Plan Kit.

Option 3
Study Your Students Every Few Months 

Every month or two, it’s a good practice to open up your Yoga Teacher Folder to flick through the Yoga Questionnaire Forms with your Yoga Therapy Cheat Sheet close by.  When you come across a student with an ailment, look at the Yoga Therapy Cheat Sheet and hit the mental pause button.

Now visualize that student (e.g. Jane Higgenbottom) in your class and see yourself going up to that student and saying something like: “Are your wrists hot and inflamed or just stiff?”

The more you use visualization (see, feel, touch and smell what is going on), the longer you’ll remember the information.  So, allow the kid within you to come out and play when doing this visualization exercise.   If you do this visualization for all your students something amazing will happen — more of your students will become life long students.  Why?  Well, because you took the time to know the ailments of each student and gave helpful advice before, during and after class.

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George Watts

BWY Yoga Teacher at George Watts Yoga
This post was lovingly morphed into reality by BWY yoga teacher, George Watts. If you're looking for a treasure trove of yoga lesson planning goodness, take a quick peek at Yoga Teacher Lesson Plan Kit.
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