Whether you’re just stepping foot on a yoga mat or you’ve been practicing for decades, yoga injuries are a real thing. Which is somewhat strange, since many people use yoga to heal and prevent injuries, right?
Modernized yoga practices are becoming increasingly popular, particularly in the United States. While there is nothing wrong with this, it does mean that more and more people are using yoga as a physical exercise and only a physical exercise. They’re jumping into yoga studios and just as quickly into group classes where they push and push themselves to be and do better.
While it’s perfectly ok (and normal) to strive for mastering more advanced poses, there is so much more to yoga than asanas.
When we spend less and less time in the philosophy and lifestyle of yoga, we are more likely to get injured during our yoga practice.
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Ready to explore how to prevent yoga injuries? You might be surprised by what you find out!
Why do you practice yoga? Is it to bring harmony to your inner and outer worlds? Is it so you can become more self-aware? Maybe it’s because you’re working on becoming more physically fit, stronger, more flexible. These are all fantastic reasons to practice yoga!
Or are you practicing for other reasons:
To impress your teacher?
To make your partner/spouse happy?
To get approval, followers, or win favor on social media?
To prove to yourself you can “master” certain poses?
These reasons are unhealthy and come from your ego. There are others as well, but letting your ego lead your yoga practice can cause you to push your body in ways that are harmful, causing yoga injuries.
If you’re a runner, swimmer, cycler, athlete, you’re already training intensely. Probably almost every day. You’re putting a lot of strain on your body, which can cause a yoga injury if you’re not choosing the right practice for your lifestyle.
Muscles, tendons, ligaments, and joints need a break sometimes, and yoga is a great way to actively rest and restore those parts of your body that need some TLC. If you’re very physically active or an athlete, your safest option is to practice a gentle form of yoga, such as yin yoga or Iyengar yoga to prevent injuries.
On the other hand, if you’re mostly sedentary, vinyasa yoga or modified ashtanga yoga might balance out your life. Even if you’re an experienced yoga practitioner.
Many people who practice yoga do so almost every day. Why? Because it feels good! But taking intense, long yoga classes can cause injury if you’re practicing 5-7 days a week.
A good way to avoid yoga injury is to mix up your yoga practice. If you do power yoga one day, try yin yoga the next. If you practice vinyasa yoga regularly, mix in an Iyengar yoga or hatha yoga practice to prevent injuries.
Practices that are too intense or done too often lead to overuse of muscles and joints, and that is counterproductive.
If it hurts, don’t do it. No matter how much you may want to push yourself, the “no pain, no gain” mentality is outdated and unhealthy. Yes, yoga can be uncomfortable at times. But there’s a big difference between discomfort and actual pain.
Listen to your body! Many yoga injuries occur because yogis are trying to master a certain pose before their body is ready. Preventing yoga injuries may mean you have to be more patient with yourself, modify, and/or use props until your body is ready to progress safely.
An excellent yoga teacher can also help you honor your body’s limitations.
While good alignment is key to preventing yoga injuries and protecting your joints, it’s easy to overuse the tendons and ligaments in your shoulder joints if you practice yoga often. Jump backs, Chaturanga, and planks can be very hard on your shoulders if done incorrectly or too often.
If you practice yoga every day, modify your practice by dropping your knees or skipping Chaturanga altogether sometimes to prevent injury to the shoulder joints.
Do you warm up before your yoga practice? Does your yoga teacher lead a thorough warm up? Warming up prevents yoga injuries, and if you’re not taking this important step in your yoga practice, it’s important to start!
A good warm up and good yoga alignment are two great ways to protect your lower back and hips during your yoga practice. Here are a few more:
Sit on a bolster or blocks for seated forward bends and twists
Only go as far as your body wants to go (don’t force it)
Keep your core engaged to protect your lower back
Balance flexibility with strength training for back and hip areas
While these tips are meant to guide you and help you and help you prevent yoga injuries, they are also meant to encourage you! You can accomplish your yoga goals safely.
One of the very best ways to grow in your yoga practice and prevent injury is to take classes with an experienced, highly qualified yoga teacher.
MyYogaTeacher offers 1:1 classes with authentic yoga instructors from the birthplace of yoga, India! And if you haven’t experienced virtual private yoga classes yet, MyYogaTeacher makes 1:1 classes affordable and accessible! PLUS, with your membership, you get:
42+ daily group yoga classes, 100% live!
Discounted yoga workshops, all live and interactive!
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