Student Safety: Healthy Sensation vs. Pain or Danger: Beginners: Student Safety

Healthy Sensation in Yoga

Healthy sensation in asana is typically felt as a moderate feeling or a “dull ache” in the middle of a muscle (as opposed to near joints where tendons and ligaments are located).

Ram Rao points out that in addition to physical sensation and pain, yoga practice may prompt memories or emotions.

  • While a student may consider such memories or emotions painful or uncomfortable, it may be a healthy and positive emotional release.
  • However, teachers need to be prepared to respond to emotional release. We have resources here: Emotional Vulnerability and Trauma-Sensitive Teaching.

See more in About Sensation & Pain.

Unhealthy Sensation or Danger

  • The fundamental teaching is that pain of any sort is a call to back-off.
  • In the case of those experiencing chronic pain, there is a somewhat unique re-education necessary to learn to listen and trust their body. See Chronic Pain for more.
  • Students may need help in distinguishing sensation from pain or signs of danger. Please see About Sensation & Pain for indicators of potential danger (such as hearing a popping sound, feelings that are sharp or shooting, etc). These are considered cues to immediately stop the activity causing them.

Related Teachings

Other Considerations

While the signals listed in Unhealthy Sensation / Pain may be considered a baseline teaching, extra considerations and cautions are required in some cases. See these resources for more information: