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'No Pain, No Gain'?

'No Pain, No Gain'?


Because yoga can be physically strenuous, The Yoga Group of Littleton, Colo., a nonprofit organization providing free yoga classes to HIVers since 1988, offers several tips for people considering beginning a yoga regimen. Cautions for HIV-positive Students ' Consult with your health care provider before beginning any yoga practice. ' Fatigue can only further weaken the immune system. Do not overexert yourself. Avoid overheating in any yoga poses. ' Those with a red rash or redness and itching of the eyes should avoid overheating as well as full inversion (handstand, peacock pose, headstand, unsupported shoulder stand) and backbend (staff pose and unsupported backbends) positions. ' Students with cytomegalovirus retinitis should avoid full inversion positions. ' Students who have had recent bouts of pneumocystis pneumonia should avoid unsupported backbends and staff pose positions, since they may cause stress on lung tissue. General Cautions ' Practice yoga with an empty stomach and, ideally, with empty bowels and bladder. Wait at least four hours after a heavy meal or two hours after a light meal to practice. ' Wear nonrestrictive clothing. Do not wear shoes or socks. ' Students with back or hip discomfort, displaced vertebrae, bone spurs, arthritis, or other physical limitations should consult their doctors before beginning yoga. ' Breathe normally in all yoga poses. Relax the eyes, ears, throat, and abdomen. ' Avoid exerting yourself beyond your capacity. Any pain or discomfort in a pose should be mild and temporary. Sharp or persistent pain is a sign of a physical problem or incorrect practice. ' Women who are menstruating should avoid inverted poses. ' Pregnant women should consult with their physician and obtain instruction from a qualified yoga instructor before beginning yoga. They also should avoid deep forward bends or other poses that constrict or twist the abdomen. ' People with high blood pressure, heart problems, detached retinas, or ear problems should not do inverted poses. People with neck problems should consult a qualified yoga instructor before beginning yoga. ' Obtain assistance with inverted poses if you are not familiar with them. ' Books, videos, and written instructions cannot take the place of personal instruction from a qualified yoga instructor who can teach the proper poses. Make necessary adjustments for any physical limitations and make corrections as you perform the poses. Reprinted with Permission from The Yoga Group. For more information about the organization,

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