Penningtons’ personal injury team has recently recovered damages of £9,000 for a young female client who sustained a back injury as a result of negligent instruction by a teacher in a yoga class.
At the time of the accident she was a beginner yoga student and had only attended classes on four or five previous occasions. Her usual yoga teacher was not available and, therefore, a substitute teacher without the relevant background knowledge took the session. The teacher recommended she perform a certain pose, despite it having been made clear that she was a beginner and had not done the exercise before. However, she was assured by the teacher that it would be good for her to attempt the pose, even though she was the only one in the session who needed assistance.
She was lying with her back on the floor and, following the teacher’s recommendation had a yoga belt fastened around her arms at the elbow, with her legs straight up in the air. The young woman’s understanding was that the yoga belt was in position to keep the arms shoulder width apart. The teacher then held her legs, pulling them further up in the air, vertically, to stretch them out as much as possible to get the correct vertical alignment needed for the pose. After having acknowledged that she was not balancing very well, the teacher then said she was going to get a stool for support. At the same time, she let go of her legs, without giving any prior warning and/or instruction. As a result the student was not able to balance unaided and could not support herself, meaning her legs toppled over her head in the form of a backwards roll.
Due to her arms being secured by the yoga belt, she had no way of supporting her back in this pose and immediately felt a shooting pain in her upper back. Subsequently she experienced severe pain and was diagnosed with a soft tissue injury. A claim was brought and successfully concluded following receipt of medical evidence and satisfactory settlement negotiations.