Construction worker teaches yoga to prevent, relieve injuries
Allan Nett has been teaching yoga to construction workers and others to relieve injuries and avoid pain for more than a decade. "It's really getting people into their bodies and taking responsibility for their health," he said.
Nett has been a certified Iyengar yoga instructor for nearly two decades. But unlike most yoga teachers, he is intimately familiar with the aches and pains common to construction workers.
"My dad was an electrical contractor, and when I was 12, I was crawling around attics," he said. "I have this vast experience in construction and a vast experience in yoga. So about 10 years ago it occurred to me, shouldn't I put these together?"
With that, Yoga with Your Boots On was born. Also called Yoga for the Construction Industry, the system helps construction workers recover from sore hands and knees, bad backs, hurt shoulders, and other injuries. The goal, he says is to help people to be balanced in their bodies.
"Are you standing on both feet? What's your posture like?" he asked. Nett modifies the yoga positions for workers who have limited flexibility.
To make it more user friendly for the crowd, he's developed several key construction yoga stretches and given them construction-friendly names. The Right Angle, for example, is a prelude to the downward dog. Some of the other positions are the Plumb Bob, Re-Bar Tie, T-Square, and the 1/4 Round.
By teaching correct body alignment and movement, proper breathing, and muscular awareness, Nett says workers have body awareness and wisdom throughout the workday and are less prone to injuries. He says once you learn the stretches, you can do them anywhere.
"My intention is that you'll say, 'Oh, I have a two-minute break at the copier. I can do one simple stretch,'" he said. "I love to talk about grocery line yoga."
Nett has many success stories of blue-collar workers who have seen reduced pain and other health benefits through yoga. "It's a paradigm shift I'm looking for in society to get people inside their bodies and think about what they're doing instead of relying on the medical community to keep us well, which is not working."
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December 16, 2010
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