Our expert says:
What do you intuitively feel about this? Continue or stop?
If you are experiencing pain in your yoga practice or pain that stays long after the class, I would say this is detrimental and definitely would advise you to stop what you are doing.
This is not to stay stop yoga, as yoga when approached correctly can be beneficial for your back. It may be better to seek a beginner’s class or remedial yoga class. Yoga done incorrectly however, could be incredibly perilous and I have heard of many people who have wrecked there bodies practicing incorrectly. The trouble with yoga at a gym, is the classes tend to be large, physically orientated and not able to cater to people with existing conditions. Does your teacher know you have a prolapsed disc? If not, I would definitely tell her, so that she might keep a better eye on your practice. Another issue is it tends to be a little competitive, in that you are likely to hold postures and strain, to keep up with “everybody else”. Yoga is not a competition and is meant to help you increase awareness of your body and mind. You should leave a yoga class feeling centred, focused, relaxed and calm. Besides a few stiff muscles you did not know you had, you should have no pain. If you are not feeling this, then perhaps a more remedial class somewhere would be more appropriate, at least until you have more awareness of what makes you back worse and what makes it better, and the self confidence that allows you to listen to your own body and it’s signals and not what an external teacher is trying to get you do. Ultimately in this case, you are responsible for your own self. Practice mindfully, and look after yourself.
Also look at why you are doing yoga, if it is merely for physical exercise and a good workout, then perhaps Pilates would be better to strengthen up your core muscles. If you wish to learn to relax and develop a greater understanding of yourself, then I would advise perhaps finding another class, where you can easily get these benefits without having to hurt yourself in the process.
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