Thursday, July 30, 2009

Hong Kong's yoga boom sparks injury surge

just the other day i was blogging about how i just dont like yoga, and how i find it more stressful on my body... interestingly tonight, here's a recent news article about how the number of yoga related injuries have surged due to various reasons.

sometimes, these yoga centers sweep away such injuries as inexperienced instructors or students over ambitious etc etc, but personally, i think its more to do with the larges classes. how can one instructor oversee a class of 20 or 30 people and ensure everyone gets their postures correct. Even in a small class of 10 in my pilates, it may take a couple of minutes before our instructor who walks around monitoring, can rotate among each student to correct our postures in the different motions.

Hong Kong's yoga boom sparks injury surge
HONG KONG (AFP) - - During her fourth yoga class, Yvonne Kong attempted a seated twist to stretch her spine. She couldn't turn as far as the rest of her class, so the instructor pushed her into the position.

The Hong Kong hairdresser immediately felt a sharp pain in her lower back, which persisted after the class. She visited a chiropractor the next day to begin a course of treatment.

As in many Asian cities, yoga has boomed in Hong Kong over the past few years, but according to some students and medical pracitioners there has been a corresponding spike in injuries.

"Yoga keeps us in business," said chiropractor David Cosman.

It has become the workout of choice for many Hong Kongers in high-pressured jobs as they seek to ease the stress of city life, leading to the establishment of an increasing number of yoga studios.

The Pure Yoga centre opened its first 4,000 square-foot (372 square-metre) studio in Hong Kong in 2002. Now, the chain's largest studio is 35,000 square feet and it has since expanded globally, with branches in Taipei and New York City.

"The busy lifestyle in Hong Kong allows time to perform only one or two hours of exercise a day and they choose yoga because it seems less harsh," said Elton Ng, a physiotherapist specialising in the treatment of sports injuries.

Cosman said the yoga craze has brought his office a steady stream of visits from injured enthusiasts. The most common complaints are of lower back and neck pain.

Eleanor Kee, a chiropractor who works in Causeway Bay said that 20 percent of all her current patients were injured through yoga.

"One of the reasons people injure themselves is that they don't realise (yoga is) more than just some relaxing technique, it's a practice people take years to perfect," she said.

Often, she said, she encounters injuries caused by an instructor forcing a student into a pose.
Chiropractor Heidi Petick said it is important for students to check that instructors have the proper certification.

There is a temptation, she said, for fitness centres to offer yoga classes simply because there is such a high demand.

"There is a strong danger in people having too much faith... when putting your body in someone else's hands," she said.

Carrie Chan had been doing yoga for three years. Around two months ago, she changed her warm-up routine from running to working on a stepper. When she later attempted a simple stretching pose during her yoga class, the 37-year-old felt a sharp pain.

"I heard a sound from my hamstring, like a broken sound," said Chan, who works as a team manager at an insurance firm. Chan said she could hardly walk or sit afterwards and had to go three times a week for three weeks to her chiropractor to relieve the pain.

There have been several personal injury lawsuits filed by yoga students against studios around Hong Kong.

In 2002, Ma Yuen-wah sued the exercise chain California Fitness for an injury she sustained at one of their branches.

The chain's spokesman Ken To would not comment on the court case, but said the firm held regular workshops and ongoing training to maintain and improve the skills of its staff.

In December 2008, a judge ruled that Yoga Plus had to pay more than 300,000 Hong Kong dollars (38,000 US) to a former student who had to be hospitalised after practising yoga for the first time at the company's studio. Yoga Plus closed down five months before the ruling.

Yogananth Andiappan, yoga director at Anahata Yoga, an internationally accredited yoga centre specialising in teaching instructors, said a lack of training for the yoga teacher could result in injuries.

"(Injuries are) possible when instructors are not knowledgeable or experienced in yoga," he told AFP.


dreams come true said...

Hey, I love yoga although I didn't like it before. I think it's a matter of finding a good place that teaches it right, and not just cashing it on the boom.

I always try to avoid places that over promote yoga and look like a spa centre. There are quite a few places here that only do small classes or they hold yoga classes at different places (by freelance instructors). So far, I haven't had any problems with them.

Anyway, yeah, I'm settling pretty well in my new abode. The reason that I moved is because I'm living with my boyfriend now. We had to find a place that's convenient for both of us...although where we were living before was more convenient for us! I've just come back from a trip to the UK & Ireland and have posted my pictures on flickr & linked it to FB, so check it out if you're free!

nomad said...

yeah i think u are right. if u like the class and the instructor, its easier to fall in love with the stuff... i am lucky that i had got all the great pilates instructor and so i fell in love with it not so much...i just find it too taxing on my body with all the stretching... i just have lazy muscles. haaa

i agree, i avoid those places that over promote, over advertise, and with large classes... in asia like in hk, the faze is crazy i tell u. its almost religious to be in yoga..its like some cult group man.

hey glad to know u are settling well...about time u two are moving in together...too much time apart previously... haaa

oh my u went on a trip again...fabulous. which part of uk did u go. i heard ireland is beautiful...will check out ur flicker these days... i cannot wait.

dreams come true said...

I like pilates too, but just that there is no pilates class at where I go now. Actually, I'm still trying out different yoga places now as I've only moved not long ago and so have to find a new yoga class.

I only went to Oxford, Bournemouth & London (London's awesome!!). Why Bournemouth? is most people's reaction, but it's only because I went to stay with the friend who went to Ireland with me, and our flight was from Bournemouth airport. The countryside of Ireland is quite beautiful, but there's not much to do there & it rains a lot there! I think it'd have been much more enjoyable had we driven around ourselves, but neither my friend nor I can drive. I like Irish people though - very friendly & helpful. And I lurrrve the Irish accent!

vishnuprasath said...

I don't know why these accidents are happening. If they drived carefully i hope it might not happen. Most of the accidents are happening due to OVERSPEED. Life is in our hands.
los angeles personal injury lawyer