Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Health and Safety in Practice

Teaching YOU & ME Yoga to Students with Learning Disabilities

Before beginning the YOU & ME Yoga programme with students it is important to have a good understanding of the condition of each student and to establish if there is anything they must not do. 

The student’s needs and abilities are initially assessed by filling in the YOU & ME Health Questionnaire to determine any condition requiring precaution of any of the 42 techniques that would be contraindicative. 


If any student has one or more of the conditions listed below, expert advice should be sought before embarking on any Loosener or Posture techniques.

Recent Surgery

It may take three months after surgery before internal healing is complete. Therefore a person may not be able to perform any technique which involves stretching or strenuous abdominal exercise without permission.

Heart Conditions

There are many types of heart conditions. It is very important to establish the amount of physical exercise a student can tolerate and the effect of the various positions on their heart function.

Can the student tolerate lying on the back (supine), or lying on their tummy (prone)?
Can the student cope with bending forward, placing the head lower than the heart?
If the answer is ‘NO’ to either of the above questions, further medical advice must be obtained.

Chest Conditions
Advice must be sought regarding stamina and effect of position on the student’s ability to breathe comfortably.

Back Problems
There are three main types of problems:

Kyphosis (humped back) or scoliosis (‘S’ curve).
The degree of curvature varies as well as the flexibility of the curve(s).
The YOU & ME system will benefit people with these problems, but it is necessary to check the ‘Cautions’ and ‘Conditions which Limit Performance’ for the relevant Looseners or Postures to determine if medical advice is needed first.

History of Back Injury 
These students tend not to have pain until they perform a movement which aggravates the old site of injury. Students who have had muscular injuries tend to recover much better than those who have had injuries involving discs and pressure on spinal nerves.

If any pain occurs, the student must immediately stop performing the movement. It is always best to seek advice as to what the injury was and what type of movement is likely to aggravate it.

Acute Back Pain

No student with acute back pain should perform Looseners or Postures without the permission of the therapist or doctor.

Profound Multiple Disabilities
These students have severe difficulties with abnormal muscle tone, abnormal posture, deformities of many joints and learning disabilities. Often various senses of the body are also affected. Expert advice needs to be sought before beginning any practice of the YOU & ME system.

General CONDITIONS which affect performance

Poor Body Awareness

Some students do not know where body parts are and how to move just one part of the body. This is not due to a muscular or joint problem but to their learning difficulties, poor understanding and limited physical experience.

Lack of Coordination

If a student has poor body awareness there will be poor coordination.

Likewise, if body awareness improves, so will coordination. However, there are conditions where the brain has a poor ability to control coordination and poor coordination causes poor balance. 

Practise of the YOU & ME system will help improve all this.

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