My friend Margaret, who is in the middle of her adventurous journey in New Zealand, and I were chatting over facebook (I love that we can stay in touch so much better now through social media) about her rediscovery of yoga. Unlike myself, she is extremely bendy- so I was cautioning her to listen to her body and not over-extend...
Then she mentioned that the instructors keep telling her to touch her head to the floor during downward dog... and was that crazy? My first reaction was "yes...." but I am not a yoga instructor (nor any type of "body" expert ie PT, OT etc), and simply because I have never encountered this in my practice doesn't mean it isn't a "thing".
So I did what I always do when faced with these questions.... I asked twitter.
Interestingly I received extremely disparate answers from "Not safe!!" to "Sure, very Iyengar".
I'll actually take this moment to ask the Iyengar blogger I know what she thinks:
"Yoga Spy- what do you think of this goal?"
(I love the blogging community!)
I find this interesting that there are such opposite spectrums in a discipline aligned with physical (and spiritual) body health regarding what is safe and what is not for a basic common posture.
This isn't close to the first time I've read some fairly extreme ends of the spectrum perspectives regarding yoga postures. A recent debate was sparked by a Haligonian yoga instructor, Seth Daley on his blog (and jumped to a mention in EJ) with regards to the dangers of pigeon pose ("Why Pigeon Pose is Wrecking Your Body" see comments from various yoga instructors in the city, one having a PT background).
I wonder how yoga instructors manage these gaping moments of disagreement and theoretical differences when chatting with each other... or if this is why instructors tend to stick within their disciplines? From the comments on Seth's blog, the answer would seem to be "very respectfully".
All this discussion and critical thinking also, hopefully, means growth. Which I feel yoga as a whole will only benefit.
My final answer to Margaret? "Just be careful during your practice, listen to your body and don't push too hard"
Thoughts on yoga disagreements in theory and practice between styles?
More importantly: Suggestions for Margaret?