Question about yin yoga and tendonitis

Check this forum for suggestions on Yin Yoga flows, sequences and postures, as well as HOW to practice Yin Yoga.
Post Reply
Posts: 1217
Joined: Sat Sep 23, 2006 2:25 am
Location: Vancouver

Question about yin yoga and tendonitis

Post by Bernie »

I recently received the following question:
  • Hi Bernie,

    I am a yin yoga teacher from Holland and I have a question about yin yoga and tendonitis. While I am a huge fan of your books I was searching them for an answer, but unfortunately I didn't find it so that's why I am emailing you and hoping you will email me back with an answer... So here we go

    One of my students complained once in a while that the day after a yin yoga class she experienced pain in her knee. During the poses in the class there was no pain or sensation that was too strong. She always watched herself carefully while doing the poses, especially while she was aware that she has weak/sensitive knees. The pain she experienced the day after the class was deep in her body. Recently she went to the doctor because of the pain and he diagnosed her with tendonitis. So she has an inflamed tendon.

    Is it possible this inflamation is caused by the yin yoga practise? I find that hard to believe because in general yin yoga is causing a healty stress on tendons and she was not experiencing pain while doing the poses. But then again, every body is different. So now I wonder what would be the right treatment for her yogawise.. (because she loves yoga) Is it safe to do yin yoga now and if yes, how should she practice? If not, are there other yoga solutions to help her cure the tendonitis?

    I look foreward to hearing from you soon.
    Have a lovely Easter!

    Kind regards
    Angelique Ykel
Hi Angelique - We can do too much of anything. Yes, your student may have injured herself by doing too much Yin yoga, but i suspect it is more likely that she aggravated an existing injury. Tendons are tricky things: they take a long time to heal. If they are damaged and we continue to stress them, we can undo the healing that the body is trying to produce. Sometimes tendon injuries require a “zero-tolerance, approach: no stress at all for quite a while.

However, having said all that - there is something called an Antifragility Curve. I have written about this often and you may want to check out this article. There I show a graph that illustrates what happens if we over stress our tissues: damage! But, also the graph shows what happens if we never stress our tissue: also damage! All tissues need exercise to be optimally healthy, but if we go too far or if we do too little the tissues lose health. The challenge is - how to know how much is enough?

When tissues are injured, it is easy to go too far and re-injure the area. However, to never apply any stress may also make the tissues weaker. In your student's case the challenge is to know how much is enough and never get to that point. She can stress the tissues, and that may be quite healthy for her but she shouldn't go too far. She can only learn where that edge is by paying attention to sensations while in the pose, coming out of the pose and the next day. Through trial and error she will learn what works for her. That is the beginning of wisdom.

If your student is suffering chronic inflammation, one option to reduce it, which will allow faster healing, is a process called Earthing. I written about this too (see here) and you may want to let her know about this possibility.

Good luck!
Post Reply