Can I attend Yoga Training with a physical limitation or after injury (which has healed)?
The answer here is yes! Not only can having an injury be a gift to your experience of Yoga Teacher Training, but it can also offer so much to the other students, the teacher, and the lessons.
For the injured student:
When one attends a teacher training with a healthy body, the goal is to learn how to get into the poses "properly". BKS Iyengar states, "we don't use the body to get into the poses, we use the poses to get into the body." And with an injury, the student will arrive in yoga classes a lot more mindful of the body, as well about the poses. Students with injuries often focus more on the anatomy and physiology of the body. This means, they pay greater attention to the function of the poses as opposed to form. They learn more about muscles and joint structures to offer ways to reduce tension, stress, and pain in their bodies. This naturally pours over into their teaching, so they can offer the same to their students. Students will also start to recognize how physical practice can help deepen meditation and pranayama exercises. These exercises help elicit the relaxation response in the body, supporting healing and reducing pain. With all this, the student can deepen their self-awareness. "Self-awareness is the key to any process of self-transformation," Gary Kraftsow.
Injury is such a great lesson in ego. Have you ever had that feeling where you know you can do something, but you also know that if you do it, you will be in pain? Having an injury in yoga teacher training means that sometimes the student might have to opt-out of practicing, or going deeper or more fully into a pose. Sometimes that can be harder than anything. When practicing as intensely as one does in yoga teacher training, the student will be humbled either way. Because practicing and hurting themselves further will result in opting out more. Being a yoga teacher is a huge responsibility, and if a student is sore, they will learn how important it is to practice mindfully. Leading a class full of people through poses, it is up to the teacher to do that safely. The cues one gives to their students are often responsible for injury, or lack thereof.
For the rest of the students:
The example of a hurt student reinforces the lesson, every body is different. All the examples of old injuries and their causes often come to the same body parts, low back, knees, shoulders and more. Yet, most people injure themselves in different ways. And the compensation and working around the injuries are also different. It shows that the same anatomy cues do not work for everyone. Having a student with limitations in class allows the other students to experience the need for extra time and consideration for injuries.
For the teacher and the lessons:
An injury in class can be one of two things. It can reinforce his/her teachings and beliefs in their adjustments and hands-on assists. Or, it can support them in discovering new material and help them to open their minds to new ways of teaching. Many doctors prescribe yoga for therapy. If the yoga teacher trainer is knowledgeable in this, she/he can support the student in rehabbing their injured body. This would be yoga in action, teaching more than what was expected for this journey.
An injured student offers so much to each person involved in teacher training, don't let it stop you from attending. Make sure to communicate your limitations to the YTT staff before signing up. If you find one that tells you not to attend, find one that will support you; one that suits you. At Alpha Yoga School, we will do what we can to accommodate you.