Dallas Hot Yoga, Pilates, Barre & Fitness

Dallas Hot Yoga, Pilates, Barre & Fitness

Brandon Hartsell Brandon Hartsell January 11, 2012

Born to Move

Body, Hot Yoga, Yoga dallas, new york times, sunstone, yoga 1 Comment
Specify Alternate Text

Since the recent NYT article “How yoga Can Wreck Your Body.” I have seen a number of comments on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, and via email. On the one hand I was sad that yoga (in general) was getting bad press as I personally know of the positive effects it brings to many people’s lives. On the other hand I felt a sense of vindication for 10 years of standing strong on:

  1. Practicing and teaching postures within the normal range of motion of the common practitioner.
  2. Practicing and teaching postures that are not associated with injury and just make good common sense.
  3. Not being a “more is better” when it comes to range of motion organization.
  4. Using a warm environment to keep the body warm instead of relying on fast paced movement to keep warm.
  5. Not doing wheel, shoulder stands, hand stands, toe stands, plow, etc.
  6. Giving people permission to not go all the way in postures.
  7. Training our teachers at the 500-hour level, giving them assessments, and having yearly continuing education requirements.

All this stuff is just common sense if you step back and look at it. I can’t tell you how many times we have received criticism (and sometime chastisement) for not having more advanced classes or for our postures being too easy (neither of which I agree with). As our teachers are taught we are not training people for the cirque du soleil. It is not about advancing your postures (though that can and often happens). It is about, among many things, moving your body and being present. Or, as we are introducing to all our community, yoga is about developing a practice (a body, mind and life practice) not just exercise.

All this push push push that is out there… it is hard enough just showing up. In our forums I was ask to counter the article but I am not sure ‘countering’ the article is productive because I agree with most of it (though I completely disagree with its all too common sensational negative format). As I stated, I feel a sense of vindication. If this is an article on yoga then we simply are not doing yoga. We don’t do a single posture they mention in the article in our primary yoga classes (Hot Yoga, Flow Yoga, Hot Flow, Yoga Core and Yoga Calm) nor do we teach with the styles or mindsets espoused in this article.

Our bodies were born to move and thousands of people will be helped by doing the kind of yoga we teach at Sunstone Yoga. We hear consistently from students getting better who have tried everything else. We also hear consistently about how yoga is the only exercises many people are compelled to stick with. Moving the body for exercise has inherent risks. Whether it is running, sports, weight lifting, crossfit, cycling, dance, rock climbing, or other there is always someone who is certain that those activities caused them injury and their life would be better if they had not done them. In many cases it comes down to the closing of the article, “If you do it with ego or obsession, you’ll end up causing problems.”

At the end of the day, though, I think the ranges of motions you find at Sunstone Yoga carry more benefits than risks and are reasonable when compared to just about every other lifestyle. I left out walking but heck my buddy was in back pain after a 1hr 40min walk this week. We went to yoga just to fix the pain. An hour later he sends me a text, “F#@% I feel good!”

In discussions on our forums a student mentioned they have back pain and feel at 31 this is too early to be having back pain. My recommendation for addressing back pain that creeps up doing yoga is as follows:

  1. Try hard to turn off the sports background as it relates to improving. Reframe improvement to be about mindfulness, breath and noticing your inner dialogue.
  2. Back way off on your forward bend effort. 9 out of 10 times I find forward bends are the culprit of back frustration.
  3. If the pain is really bugging you then focus on Wood exclusively and see if it gets better. If you throw in another class tell yourself not to go for distance (range of motion) go for quality of hold. Don’t hang out in your soft tissues. You muscles are there to support the postures not your soft tissues. If you do this I bet things get better.
  4. Be sure you read about Pain Free Yoga: on our yoga page.
  5. Consider getting coaching and attending some workshops to learn more specifics about each posture and adjustment that might improve your practice. Always be mindful and present. Back pain is a problem that is goes way beyond yoga. Here are some interesting if not surprising statistics:
  • For people under 45, back pain is the number one disability.
  • In the USA they estimate 31 million people have back pain at any specific time.
  • Only the common cold beats back pain for the reason people visit a healthcare provider in the USA.
  • It is estimated that 4 out of 5 people will experience some type of back problem in their lifetime.
  • Over 50 billion dollars are spent each year trying to help back pain.
  • Back pain accounts for 30 to 40 percent of absence in the workplace.
  • In the past three months 1 out of 4 people will report back pain lasting at least one whole day.
  • Half of working people in the USA report back pain each year.
  • The use work force has 2 percent being compensated for back injuries each year.
  • Two thirds of all back pain-related cases are lower back pain.

With my 6’10” frame I have to be very mindful of my back. If I am too sedentary my back hurts and yoga is the best cure for me. Conversely, if I push in yoga it can also make my back sore. In my years as a personal training and the cross-training I did as a professional basketball player I haven’t found anything that doesn’t require mindfulness and moderation. The beauty of yoga is that is has created a space for me to work on both of those while maintaining a physical practice.

Comments are closed.


  • 2020
  • 2017
  • 2016
  • 2015
  • 2013
  • 2012
  • 2011