Not all yoga is good for everyone. Although considered to be one of the best methods of attaining optimum health, ranging from improving circulation to the various organs of the body, especially the heart, as well as improving everything from mood to muscle tone, respiration to the ability to relax, and losing weight to draining lymphatic fluids in order to get rid of toxic waste within the cells of the body, there are times when the exercises can do more harm than good.
This is particularly true of inversion exercises such as Forward Fold, Legs Up the Wall, and Downward Dog, etc., which can be harmful for pregnant women.
In fact, pregnant women need to avoid any poses that target their cores and put extra pressure on both the uterus, itself and blood vessels that feed it. They should also avoid Bikram (aka Hot Yoga) until after delivery.
While this may seem obvious, these same exercises have been proveb to be extremely dangerous for both men and women suffering from glaucoma.
In fact a 2013 study by Jessica Jasien, Gustavo de Moraes, and Robert Ritch performed at the New York Glaucoma Research Institute at New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai found those suffering from the ocular disease should avoid 4 poses, Adho Mukha Svanasana, Uttanasana, Halasana and Viparita Kirani because of the added pressure to the eyes, which could ultimately lead to vision problems and blindness.
Their conclusions were made after measuring eye pressure in 10 patients 5-times before they began doing the yoga exercises in order to establish a baseline.
These were done as soon as subjects assumed each pose, 2-minutes into the poses, seated immediately after the poses, and 10-minutes after each one.
While the greatest increase of pressure occurred during downward facing dog yoga, they advised that those with glaucoma should avoid all “full inversions like headstand, handstand, shoulder stand, and forearm stand.”
According to the American Glaucoma Society at least 3 million people in the US suffer from the disease, although they suspect many more cases have gone undiagnosed.
Those considered to be at higher risk developing glaucoma include just about anybody 60-years old or more, although it is often found in African Americans as young as 35-40.
Mexican Americans are also considered a high risk group, along with anyone who has a family history There is no cure for glaucoma, however if caught early enough some patients can regulate their intraocular pressure with daily eye drops, while others need to undergo laser treatment or surgery.