Is This Good For You?

Recently in an Arlington group yoga class, I had a student ask me this question (“Is this good for you?”) during some wrists stretches I was instructing.  I admit wrists exercises can create uncomfortable feelings, particularly if you never stretch them, but it’s funny how people equate “feeling” with bad.

Our bodies speak to us through sensation.  Yoga teaches us to discern between good, healthy pain and bad, piercing pain.  In daily life, comfortable sensations often go unnoticed.  It’s the uncomfortable feelings/pain that grab our attention.

As yogis we learn to listen to our bodies and differentiate between good vs. bad pain.  And for non-yogis it’s often not a good thing when the body is in pain because it usually means a muscle/tendon/ligament has been overstretched, strained or torn, etc. unintentionally due to physical neglect and/or poor habits.  Possibly a red flag should go up.  Harmful pain is usually described as sharp, piercing and throbbing –all signs something is out of whack and a physician should be consulted.

Good pain is what I sometimes describe as blissful discomfort – you’re giving your body the attention it deserves and the body is saying thank you via tranquil sensations.   Through mindful movement on the yoga mat, you learn to breathe into poses and stay even though they may be physically and mentally challenging.  More importantly, you begin to feel the difference between being challenged with blissful vs. potentially injurious pain.

So I responded to my yoga student’s “is this good for you?” question with the following answer.  “Is having a baby a good thing even though the pain can be extremely sensational?  When you run marathons (which she does) and you’re in pain is that good or bad pain?”  It’s really a matter of perspective.

To conclude, the wrists are extremely delicate, used constantly and receive very little attention.  Considering there are 27 bones in each wrist (plus a slew of muscles & tendons) doesn’t it make sense to give them a little attention?  As with many things in life, preventative maintenance is key.  And as I tell all my yoga students, “you’re in charge on the yoga mat –and off – so back off if it doesn’t feel right!”

One response to this post.

  1. I think that most of young people have no clue about yoga and what it is.


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