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Sharp Knives & Yoga Practice

health yoga anatomy yoga practice Apr 22, 2022

Be careful with sharp knives. A sharp knife can injure you more easily.

Who remembers being told this when growing up? Or maybe you still hear it now?

For workplace safety, based on these cautions, wouldn’t it be advisable for cooks and chefs to have blunt knives? That would ensure more consistency and less downtime in providing meals for us.

Quite the contrary is true. Chef’s knives tend to be sharp. And while injuries do occur, relative to the amount of time spent handling knifes, they are few. Ask a chef why they cut themselves: 'I wasn't paying attention'.

What this tells us maybe, is that it’s not the tool that is causing injury, it might be the technique how it’s used.

Well, I’m not a chef you might think, this has nothing to do with me.
As it turns out, this analogy is quite adequate to yoga practice.

Injuries happen frequently and a host of postures have a reputation for causing discomfort, pain , and yes, injuries.
Akin to the chefs before, there are plenty of people, yoga practitioners, gymnasts or otherwise, that can practice and hold these movements and postures without problems arising.
Clearly there is no direct problem with the posture or practice. How you practice a posture, how you move and support yourself, makes the difference between safety and success or pain and avoidance.

We can make postures and movements more safely accessible by two means:

1 - Attention. Paying attention, that is. In yoga practices this is often referred to as being present or as mindfulness in practice. Basically, this is about not getting distracted and knowing what you’re doing.
How many times have you slipped when trying to cut something with a dull knife or a knife that was too small? Accuracy and effect of the intended action / cut are reduced with tools that are insufficient.

2 - Knowing what to do is the second point. Working with techniques that are applicable and appropriate for your body and state keep you safe and ensure sustainable practice.

Learn how your body can move. Understand your potential for both movement and creating stability and strength when and where it matters.

When you study (on yourself) yoga anatomy, you can refine your technique to be on your way to mastering a practice.
Empower yourself rather than blame a posture or movement.

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