Penningtons personal injury team recently recovered damages in the sum 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 our client was a beginner yoga student and had only attended on four or five previous occasions. Our client's usual yoga teacher was not available and, therefore, a substitute teacher without the relevant background knowledge took the session. The teacher recommended that our client perform a certain pose. Our client made it quite clear she was a beginner and had not done this before. She was assured by the teacher that it would be good for her to try this pose despite being the only one in the session that needed assistance, having not attempted it previously.
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. Our client’s understanding is that the yoga belt was in position to keep the arms shoulder width apart. The teacher held our client's 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 to our client that she was not balancing very well, the teacher then told our client that she was going to get a stool for support. At the same time of mentioning this she let go of our client’s legs without giving any prior warning and/or instruction. This meant our client was not able to balance unaided or support herself and her legs toppled over her head in the form of a backwards roll.
Due to her arms having been secured by way of the yoga belt, she had no way of supporting her back in this pose and immediately experienced a shooting pain in her upper back. As a result, our client experienced severe pain in her upper back and diagnosed soft tissue injury. A claim was brought and successfully concluded following receipt of medical evidence and satisfactory settlement negotiations.