Yes, we heard Kino hurt her hip

With other news during the past week taking up our bandwidth, we’ve let slide all the hubbub over Kino MacGregor’s injuring herself while adjusting a student.

The big piece on it, which I’ll assume you’ve seen, is by regular yoga writer Matthew Remski. Link is here, and a little taste (be warned; it is long, very, very long):

I’ve interviewed more than a hundred yoga practitioners about pain and injury. The acute injuries are dramatic: a hamstring tears in the moment of a harsh adjustment, or a rotator cuff rips upon the impact of leaping into an arm-balance that uses the upper arm as a brace. But there are usually pre-existing weaknesses or stresses that forecast these events, which means that sports medicine doctors and orthopedic surgeons are typically conservative when it comes to pinpointing exact moments and causes.

Even harder to definitively source are the repetitive stress injuries that creep in below the radar. I’ve interviewed several women who have sustained labral tears, for example, which first present as niggling pinches in the groin and either slowly or quickly progress to shattering pain. Many of these subjects continued to practice as their pain increased, unaware that they may be deepening a tear. Some practiced with modification, some without, but most continued with a firm belief that whatever the pain was, practice would heal it.

Then there are injuries like MacGregor’s, which are yoga-related, but don’t literally occur on the mat. MacGregor was initially firm via email. “This isn’t a yoga injury that came from my practice. It came from the impact of a student falling into me while I was assisting her.”

We’ve discussed Ashtanga and injuries pretty often before. Injury is inevitable, although mostly avoidable. But Ashtanga is a pretty extreme form of asana, and as with anything extreme, there will be consequences.

Kino’s injury has gotten more than its share of attention, of course, because she’s omnipresent on social media — often via photos or videos of her doing some of the practice’s most extreme poses. There are lots of valid topics to discuss, and they’ve been pretty well gone through in the comments on the article: the value of injury; what’s “real yoga”; how much is too much asana. For me, I think the most useful is to think about how our ego and our drive to get the next pose or perfect this particular pose really runs counter to what we’re supposed to be doing in a yoga practice. At the same time, we need that drive to do the practice; it’s the great mischief of practice and life: you require your ego to get rid of yourself. You have to want to not want to not want.

That said, I’d certainly have to argue that the Instragram-ization of yoga enables our egos in not the best of ways. Having heard stories from the first Western Ashtanga students, I’m not really sure that anyone today is particularly more driven or, to use this word loosely, more crazy than David Williams or Tim Miller, etc. were “back in the day.” Those folks charged through the Series pretty quickly. They wanted more poses, just like people do today. Perhaps the main difference is just how many people one can encounter who are driving themselves ahead, and doing so so publicly. And how it is that this drive is being packaged for public consumption.

Posted by Steve

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Two Ashtangis write about their practice and their teachers.

One thought on “Yes, we heard Kino hurt her hip”

  1. I like your article , the difference is the practice to tame the mind and observe our habits and patterns which arise in our asana practice. for example our eagerness to master an asana, how to slow it down. Creating a sense of not only awareness, guidance from a spiritual mentor as well. There is such a fine line in spirituality, which is why the concept of Gurus are there and even then we must be careful not to get up with guru obsession , more like get the tools and find out through the experience. A yoga teacher is not one who can do difficult postures or shows them to the world. David Swenson, speaks of his journey as a student on his path and you can see this in his practice and his way of speech.
    Pain will arise and addressing it makes the difference. In his of Matthew Remski’s article, the way Kino responded said much more than the hip itself.
    Also, there is conscious marketing, no problem about making money and showing up. How aware we of our actions and responsibility as taking on as a “teacher”, needs to be addressed. This new age yoga was bound to have consequences, because some teachers become gurus without constant guidance. Comparing the past and present, the main key was dedication with an experienced mentor, who understand more than asana.

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