Power yoga with glaucoma?
November 10, 2018 2:14 PM   Subscribe

I love following along to power yoga videos but don't see a way forward without being able to do poses that involve any degree of inversion.

I understand that with glaucoma I should avoid yoga poses that put my head below my heart, because that raises interocular pressure. Not only are full inversions contraindicated, but apparently I should also avoid downward-facing dog, standing forward fold, plow, etc. Even child's pose involves some degree of inversion.

I enjoy doing power yoga at home by following along to video instructors, e.g., Travis Eliot, but maybe a third or even half of the sequences in those videos are now out of the question. Are there safe alternatives that touch the body in a equivalent fashion and don't break the flow of a power yoga practice? I am looking for specific substitutions, so when I hear X, I do A instead.

I have of course Googled this question, but most of the results that purport to describe how to adapt or modify a yoga practice just say not to do head-below-heart poses. Merely telling me what I can't do without offering alternatives is most unhelpful. The only other results I found online were woo about how I should be thankful for the limitations and embrace the opportunity to broaden myself spiritually. I practice yoga for my corporeal well-being.
posted by ionnin to Health & Fitness (2 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Many poses that are typically inversions can be done in other directions. So for example, downward dog at a wall (hands pressing into the wall while standing) or boat. Camel instead of bridge. Seated forward fold instead of standing forward fold. Think of the pose, think of the muscle engagements, and then try rotating the pose such that your body shape or muscular engagement is the same, but your head is higher than your heart. These are not necessarily going to fit seamlessly into a power yoga flow (they might take a few seconds lonnger to get in our out of), but they will give you similar benefits without the risks.

If it’s an option, you might consider hiring a yoga teacher to create several power yoga sequences for you to use instead of trying to adapt existing videos on the fly. They might even make custom videos for you to use.

If that’s not an option, consider looking for power yoga videos that emphasize strength rather than speed, because that will give you a bit more time to move into alternate poses.

Here’s an example of wall sun salutations that keep your head up high.

If you have specific other poses/sequences you want to brainstorm workarounds for, post them here and I’ll see what I can do. (But an in-person teacher would be best.)
posted by instamatic at 3:47 PM on November 10, 2018 [10 favorites]

My studio offers a chair yoga class; I don’t know that it’s specifically designed to minimize time spent with head below heart, but that’s the effect. The poses are variations like instamatic mentions, using the chair as a prop instead of a wall, so looking for chair yoga videos might be another option in addition to the great advice above!
posted by stellaluna at 11:13 AM on November 11, 2018 [1 favorite]

« Older Snowbird cities   |   I want to be notified of any good sales, anywhere... Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments