How to avoid yoga injuries

January 9, 2013

Last year, a New York Times article, “How yoga can wreck your body”, stated that yoga may not be appropriate for certain groups, and might actually do more harm than good.

Indeed, the upsurge of interest in the exercise, together with the proliferation of yoga studios and instructors, may have contributed to practitioners failing to fully grasp the techniques needed for yoga poses and suffering injuries as a result of doing too much too quickly.

Indeed, a survey by the United States Consumer Product Safety found that nearly 4,500 people ended up in the emergency room from yoga injuries in 2006.

Injuries are apparent in any physical endeavour, from walking to race-car driving.

Most people might have a hard time believing that an activity as gentle as yoga could be hurtful, but the reality is that it is not appropriate for everyone.

However, online health blog has listed a few pieces of advice that may help men and women avoid such injuries.

1. Take the proper class

Yoga styles are like snowflakes – no two are alike. Before taking up a class, read the description or talk to the instructor to determine if it is a good fit.

As a beginner, it would be wise to avoid a class that serves advanced students. Even though yoga may conjure up an image of lithe people stretching, the reality is that it can be hardcore and extremely difficult.

2. Listen to the options

It is tempting to just do what everyone else in class is doing, but options are given and modifications are shown for a reason.

A qualified yoga instructor will have learnt and understand his students’ history of injuries, and the options that he is giving are designed to meet each student’s specific needs. Do not ignore them.

3. Be conservative

One of the mysteries of yoga is that while one might not feel like he has worked very hard on the mat in last night’s class, he is almost guaranteed to feel muscles he does not know he has by morning.

Yoga asanas, or poses, can greatly impact the musculoskeletal system at a very deep level. The effects are not always felt immediately, so it is best to leave class feeling like more could have been done.

Until one fully realises how far he can safely push his limits, it is vital to tread lightly.

4. Practise the basics

Even top athletes start with the basics when learning a new skill.

Yoga is a multi-dimensional practice with a lot to learn and remember. If the Sanskrit pose names are not confusing enough, there are chakras, bandhas and dristis to contend with.

Practise with a beginner’s mind and focus on the most important thing first: safety.

Turn awareness to one’s own body, take care of it as best as possible, and vow to learn about the other aspects of yoga when ready.

Source: My Paper

Category: Wellness and Complementary Therapies

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