Yoga has increased popularity over the years as a form of exercise that has many benefits; promoting flexibility, balance and endurance to name a few. 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:
- See us or your doctor first if you have any chronic illness or longstanding musculoskeletal injury. Ask about any poses you should avoid.
- Find a qualified instructor, or better still ask us for a referral. There are many books and tapes on the market and you may be tempted to learn from those, but you run the risk of performing the postures incorrectly and becoming injured.
- 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.
Yoga is a great addition to any fitness programme, 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. We can help you get ready for yoga and continue safely to achieve maximum benefit from your classes.
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