Yoga has increased popularity over the years as a form of exercise that has many benefits; promoting flexibility, balance and endurance. Yoga is a mild, low - impact activity, therefore it is surprising that yoga injuries can occur, but they do. Like any form of exercise, if it is performed incorrectly or performed by persons with certain musculoskeletal conditions, injuries can result.
The most common yoga injuries occur as a result of repetitive strain on the wrists, shoulders, neck, knee, spine, hamstrings and the sacroiliac joint (which links the spinal column and the pelvis).
The danger with yoga is that symptoms do not come on overnight and when they do appear. It is by then a chronic injury, which is more resistant to treatment. Also, beginners may try too hard and put a lot of strain on their joints. Pain, tenderness and difficulty with movements should alert you that something is wrong and you should rest from the activity.
Some tips to avoid becoming injured while practicing yoga:
- Perform warm up exercises before starting your yoga session. Stretching cold muscles and tendons can lead to injury.
- Seek out the type of yoga that best suits your needs. Not all forms of yoga are created equal. Some are more strenuous and may be unsuitable for people with certain conditions.
- Wear proper clothing that allows for ease of movement.
- If you are a beginner, start slowly and do not try postures that you are not yet ready for.
- Drink plenty of fluids, especially if participating in Bikram or 'hot' yoga.
- If you are not sure of a pose or movement, ask your instructor.
- If you experience pain or exhaustion while performing yoga, stop and rest.
Don’t compare yourself to others. Everyone’s body is different and has endured different injuries in the past, so what may seem simple for one person, may feel really painful for another. You may also feel more tightness or be more sensitive to strain at certain times. Don’t be shy to skip a pose here or there, and instead focus on something that will be beneficial for your body. Your instructor will be able to suggest modifications for you as well.
- Don’t rush out of your posture. Some poses are held for several minutes. The best thing to always keep in mind is to get yourself out of a pose as slowly as you got into it.
- Don’t lock your joints, as this increases the chances of wearing them out and causing injury in the future. You want to instead focus on engaging your muscles around your joints to gain stability.
- Keep yourself hydrated. This is important for any type of activity or yoga class, but especially important if you are participating in a hot yoga class because your body will be perspiring at a greater rate.
Yoga is a great addition to any fitness program, but you can become injured while performing yoga if you do not know what you are doing, or if you have conditions for which Yoga may be contraindicated.
If you are suffered any of the above or other injuries, do not hesitate to come see us at The Bali Physio. We will help you to recover from your injuries.