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Yoga instructor breaks woman’s leg while trying to do dragon pose

The student spent 16 days at a hospital in eastern China and is now asking for compensation

Maroosha Muzaffar
Friday 01 October 2021 10:47 BST
Related video: Five reasons to get back into the yoga studio

A relaxing yoga class at a studio in China ended in an accident, after a student suffered a broken leg while performing a particular posture.

The woman student, whose femur broke during her first-ever private yoga class, told local media she was suing the studio, located in eastern China’s Anhui province.

The incident occurred toward the end of August, according to local media, who identified the woman only by her family name, Ms Wang.

The Xinan Evening News reported first that Ms Wang was asked to practice the dragon pose – a hip-opening posture that targets the human body’s hip flexors and quads – by the instructor, who local media identified as just Ms Li.

The dragon pose is supposed to help with sciatic pain and relieve tightness in the legs and hips.

“She was pushing down on my thigh, and pressed too hard. Suddenly, I just felt severe pain and could not move at all,” Ms Wang was quoted as saying.

Ms Li, before correcting her posture, told Ms Wang that her left leg was in the wrong position.

The yoga instructor soon called an ambulance and took Ms Wang to a nearby hospital, where doctors confirmed she had a compound fracture on her femur. Ms Wang needed surgery, reports said.

She was in hospital for 16 days, but claimed she was still unable to walk.

The yoga studio paid Ms Wang 50,000 yuan (approximately £5,760) for her medical fees, but refused to pay more when Ms Wang asked for compensation for future treatment.

“I paid 6,000 yuan (£690) from my own pocket for the medical treatment because the hospital charged 56,000 yuan (approximately £6,450) and the yoga studio only covered 50,000 yuan,” said Ms Wang.

“What’s more, there will be other costs for rehabilitation in the future and my work will be affected due to this injury. I want reasonable compensation,” Ms Wang added.

Orthopaedists in China have seen an increase in the number of cases related to yoga injuries, although many said the injuries were not as serious as a broken femur, reported state-run news agency Xinhua.

Doctors at the First Affiliated Hospital of Zhejiang University received around three to four such cases per month, far more than they received a year ago, with most of the cases of young women.

The age of Ms Wang was not disclosed by local media reports.

In 2019, a similar case occurred, in which a 55-year-old Chinese woman won almost £21,320 after suffering a permanent injury from attending a yoga session.

There were 20 million yoga practitioners in mainland China at the end of 2017, according to official figures. Authorities estimate this figure to go over 100 million by 2030.

The BBC quoted Benoy Matthews, a leading UK-based physiotherapist, who said he witnessed “increasing numbers of yoga teachers with serious hip problems – many of whom require surgery – because they are pushing their bodies too hard.”

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