Life is full of risks. Not to sound morbid or anything but you can die in a car crash (God forbid!) or trip and sprain your ankle during a simple walk outside any day anytime now.
While you can’t always control the times you get hurt, as accidents do happen, you can take some precautions when practicing yoga. Read on to find out how you can prevent yoga related injuries.
Disclaimer: If you already have an existing injury, please consult your doctor before practicing yoga at the studio and at home. Some previous injuries may act up during yoga.
When Do Yoga Injuries Occur the Most?
You might be surprised but actually, the most time injuries happen is when people transition in and out of a pose too quickly. The big takeaway here: Never ever EVER rush or suddenly jerk out from any asana. Period.
Focus on Strength Over Flexibility
We think that to be the ultimate yogi practitioner we need to be super flexible (which isn’t true by the way, check out my previous article “8 Tips on How to Get More Flexible for Yoga” where I demystify this).
When we see that we fail to measure up to the level of other students and perhaps our instructors, we think that by overdoing the stretching of a pose, we will increase our flexibility and become like them faster. And that my friends is asking for an injury to happen! And I don’t think anyone wants to experience a muscle strain. Ouch!
Remember, yoga is not a competition with others including yourself. Yoga is a journey to healing, rejuvenation, and growth—not the growth of ego.
To get the most out of the physical benefits of yoga, choose to focus on strength and stability. And believe me, the flexibility will come after.
Besides, by actively engaging your muscles and abdominals all throughout your yoga session, you’ll feel the benefits of yoga so much more rather than obsessing on looking like a contortionist.
Another thing to add to my previous point is that instead of comparing yourself to others, put your focus towards breathing (which you should be doing anyway).
With the power of oxygen calming you down, you’ll move slower and you’ll be aware of your body and its limitations which will reduce your chances of getting injured.
Also, make sure that you stay for Savasana, the final resting pose, to slow your body’s nervous system and bring closure to your practice. Your body and mind will thank you for it and you’ll have better day or evening (depending when you practice).
Props are Your Best Friends!
In yoga, besides your yoga mat of course, blocks, straps and bolsters are your best friends!
If you can’t do a pose entirely on your own, a prop may help you achieve it or at least partially which is also ok.
Using props doesn’t make you less-of-a-yogi: they enhance your asanas, make you more comfortable and reduce your chances of injury. Watch how you improve your yoga practice by using them regularly.
Know the Difference Between “Good” Pain and “Bad” Pain
Don’t force any move and stop at the slightest feel of pain and discomfort, AKA the “bad” kind of pain. Yoga should never feel painful for you. The “no pain, no gain” mentality just does not apply here: it just means setbacks and weeks without yoga practice.
Instead go for the “good” pain which is generally muscular tightness. Slight trembling limbs are also generally good as it means that you’re building strength.
Do I Increase My Chances of Getting Injured With a Home Yoga Practice?
If you’re experienced, not really. But it can happen.
But before you freak out, just know that the results of a survey conducted by DoYouYoga shows that a home yoga practice is safe for most people (provided you follow the tips I mentioned in this post).
In their survey of over 10 000 people, 85% of yogis have a home practice and 15% attend local studio classes. Out of the group with the home yoga practice, 4 out of 5 of yogis use videos or online yoga classes like YogaDownload.com to do their yoga.
80% of home yoga practitioners never got a yoga-related injury and the 20% that did usually got a shoulder injury. These injuries were mostly minor.
However, if you’re a beginner in yoga before you jump the gun and start a home yoga practice, I recommend you take a few group classes so you can benefit from the teacher’s supervision just so that you’re familiar with the correct positioning and alignment of the poses. After that you can always use videos to practice and refine.
=> If you’re interested in learning how to correct the technique of poses at home, check out my review on YogaDownload.com by clicking on my link here <=
More Tips to Prevent Yoga-Related Injuries
- If practicing in the studio, talk to your teacher and let them know of any existing injuries or sensitivities you have so that they can modify poses for you
- If practicing at home from a video, make sure you follow videos that are appropriate for your level and be familiar with some alternative poses
- Make sure to warm up at the start of your yoga session
- Start with gentle poses and then move on to more challenging ones
- Don’t ever force a pose at the slightest feel of pain and discomfort. Muscular tightness and trembling are generally good as it means that you’re strengthening your muscles
- Learn the correct alignment
- Transition slowly between poses
- Focus on strength over flexibility
- Stay hydrated
- Breathe to keep your cool! By calming down you won’t feel so stressed to compete with others including yourself
- Make sure to stay for Savasana to give closure to your practice and to calm your body’s nervous system
- Use props! Yoga blocks, straps, and bolsters are there to support you not embarrass you
- Practice at least three times a week so that your body is used to the poses and sequences
Do you know any other tips to prevent yoga injuries? Leave a comment or question below.
PS: I respond to all comments.