But physiotherapists, orthopaedic doctors and practitioners of Indian medicine say while there are a handful of `qualified’ yoga instructors in the city, the number of those holding classes with little or no training in the ancient discipline is on the rise. Some have incorporated new elements to come up with derivatives like ‘Power Yoga’, ‘Pilates Yoga’ and ‘Aerobic Yoga’ to make it more appealing to the masses.
The result: “Out of ten people who attend yoga classes, at least one has an injury or has an aggravated pre-existing condition,” said Deepak Mudaliar, a Chennai-based fitness consultant and physiotherapist. He said, after recovery he usually refers his clients to a nonprofit yoga `mandiram’ that is recognised by Morarji Desai National Institute of Yoga (MDNIY) – an autonomous institute established by the department of AYUSH, ministry of health and family welfare. It acts as the nodal agency for the development and pro motion of yoga in the country.
As the institute limits itself to promotion and recognition, several yoga studios with no certification have cropped up in the city .”Many of them are capitalising on the fad to stay fit,” said 41-year-old yoga practitioner Lara Abisheikh, who was introduced to the discipline at the age of 14.Unlike other fitness regimes, yoga calls for deeper study, knowledge and training since it is considered a form of therapy , he said. In the traditional form, people are screened and their medical history taken into account. “The effects of yoga are usually progressive. But people look for quick results. As a result, instructors often overwork them,” he explained, adding that it could be detrimental. Many of these sessions are held in groups, with instructors tending to overlook those who may need medical help.