Critical Analysis of Exercise Programs
Below is a piece that comes from a physical therapy manual. I copied it a few years ago because of how much common sense there is in the text and how well it seems to apply to the physical practice of yoga.
The piece comes from Therapeutic Exercise: Foundations and Techniques, Third Edition; Carolyn Kisner and Lynn Allen Colby, F.A. Davis Company (Philidelphia, 1996). It is the introduction to Chapter 21: Critical Analysis of Exercise Programs:
When establishing a balanced exercise program, two concerns should be addressed: what goals and kinds of exercise make up a well-designed program, and do the proposed exercises safely and effectively accomplish the intended goals? The patient’s condition; age; any previous injuries, deformities, or dysfunctions; and any potential risks from diseases should be taken into account.
Information about exercise routines is found everywhere: in popular magazines, in sports and health magazines and journals, on television and videotapes, and in books. These routines are designed by anyone, from the physician to the shapely movie personality, either with or without consultation from someone trained in safe exercise techniques. Well-intended people advise others in exercise routines to stretch, tone, strengthen, prepare for this or that, slim down, or build up. Most people have at one time or another become involved in a supervised exercise program, perhaps at school or at a health club or YMCA. Today, with the popularity of aerobic conditioning and exercise programs, many people with good intentions try various forms of exercising without adequate preparation or guidance only to find that they develop back, leg, or joint pain; muscle strain; or simple muscle soreness from overexercising or exercising improperly. They either become discouraged and feel defeated or they persevere and injure themselves. Why this happens can be traced to the observation that some of the exercises chosen are not biomechanically safe for the strength, flexibility, or endurance level of the person doing the exercise or they are the wrong exercises to accomplish the intended purpose.
This chapter is designed to help the reader critically analyze commonly used exercises in terms of how they can be used to evaluate problems and then be adapted to accomplish a desired goal. The intent is not to describe the ideal exercise protocol—there is no such thing—but to help the reader recognize that to accomplish an exercise goal as safely as possible, exercises have to be adapted to the individual level of the person involved and must be balanced with other appropriate exercise activities.
This is information that would be beneficial for many yoga practitioners.