I wanted to share a comment and my reply from my recent post, Healing Injuries with Ashtanga Yoga.

The comment:
Sorry mate – you could not be more wrong – when you have a muscle tear caused through stretching too far in ashtanga you should not try and “HEAL” yourself by doing more ashtanga. I disagree entirely, my wife who is a yoga instructor injured herself when another instructor pushed her too hard in an adjusted ashtanga position and as a 30 year old female, it took her 18 months to get back to where she was before.

My reply:

Your comment is an expression of anger recalling what must have been a very trying time for you and your wife.

I’m truly sorry to hear that your wife was injured as a result of an adjustment. It’s unfortunate when that happens. I don’t know the details of what happened to your wife. I don’t know which asana she was doing or which teacher was helping her and went too far.

There are some asanas that I don’t often adjust because students are too vulnerable in my experience. I also measure my adjustments based on the relative flexibility of a student. It’s often the case that a more flexible student risks over stretching and injury far more than a stiffer student. My teaching style has never been based on only deep adjustments. There are some instructors who make a name for themselves in that way, but it comes with inherent risks as your wife learned.

I’m going to have to disagree with your comment, though. Here’s why.

Your comment is a logical fallacy. You propose that if one gets injured practicing ashtanga yoga then one cannot heal oneself doing ashtanga yoga. This is 100% incorrect from the standpoint of logic.

In addition, citing the length of time it took your wife to heal is not at all relevant to the ability of ashtanga yoga to heal injuries regardless of their cause. As a result of suffering an injury doing the ashtanga practice, she and/or you may have chosen never to practice ashtanga yoga again. That’s fine and maybe reasonable under the circumstances particularly if the teacher involved wasn’t able to restore your trust in him/her and the practice itself. However, it still doesn’t alter or weaken the point of my post.

My wife suffered from wrist and knee pain in the past and used ashtanga yoga to heal herself. It took her about eight months to heal her knee and about a year and a half to heal her wrists. During this time, she had to back way off in her practice. It wasn’t easy and she had her doubts at times about whether it was ever going to get better. Both injuries healed as a result of practicing ashtanga yoga.

I want to again offer my regrets that you and your wife had to go through her injury. That completely and utterly sucks. I hope she and you are still practicing yoga regardless of method or lineage and are finding it useful and beneficial to your well being.