7 Tips to Staying Safe and Preventing an Injury in Your Yoga Class

In the recently released special edition of Time magazine, an article reported that in the past three years 13,000 Americans were treated in an emergency room or doctor’s office for yoga-related injuries. Some suspect that an additional 13,000 or maybe even more have been injured in yoga classes, but have not reported them. More and more people are trying yoga and more and more yoga related injuries are taking place. It is crucial to your health and well being that you realize that any exercise or practice done incorrectly can and will most likely lead to injury.

The good news is that The Academy of Surgeons believes that the benefits of yoga out weigh the potential risks if you are practicing with caution and perform the exercises in moderation along with a knowledgeable instructor. The problem is many people going into yoga for their first time believe in the out dated, ‘no pain no gain’ paradigm and are not practicing with caution and moderation. This toxic way of thinking and overdoing in https://blog.yogaveler.com/ leads to harm and a lot of unnecessary self inflicted pain. In fact, those teachers and students that “push” themselves are not actually practicing yoga at all. The Yoga Sutra’s of Patanjali states that, “Yoga poses should be easy and comfortable.” That may need repeating for the many “Type A” people that are attracted to yoga. Again, yoga should be easy and comfortable!

Those who push themselves in yoga may get injured right away, although many yoga injuries take several years to show up in the form of chronic pain. Torn cartilage in the knees, joint problems from aggressive adjustments or repeatedly doing a pose incorrectly, pulled muscles, sprained necks, impinged nerves and chronic lower back pain are some of the most common injuries that are caused by practicing yoga aggressively, competitively, or unconsciously.

How can you stay safe and healthy in Yoga?

By following the following logical guidelines you can reap all the benefits of yoga and stay safe in your practice.

1. If you haven’t exercised in a long time, don’t expect that you will safely be able to do what you were able to do 20 or 30 years ago. Yoga is a progressive practice and doing a little less is truly more. If you do a little less than what you can achieve, you will stay safe and you will be able to comfortably advance with regular practice.

2. Get quality instruction. It may be a good idea to find a private yoga teacher if you are new to yoga. Find an experienced, educated yoga teacher that will work with your body and your personal needs one on one before you enter into a large class where you won’t get the attention that you need. You can find a qualified registered yoga teacher that has met minimum requirements established by the National Yoga Alliance. Yoga Alliance’s website.

3. Be open and honest with your yoga teacher. Let your yoga teacher know about any injuries old or new you may have experienced. Ask the teacher if they physically touch and adjust their students. If they do, ask them if they can do their best to refrain but instead give you verbal adjustments and let you know when you have it right. Verbal adjustments will allow you to feel and think it out to yourself as well as work on your focus and listening skills and giving you freedom and independency from your teacher.

4. Take responsibility for your body, especially for the really mobile parts. In each pose cultivate the practice of scanning your joints from head to toe. There are way too many shoulder injuries caused by a regular incorrect yoga practice. This is most likely due to incorrectly doing downward dog and plank pose. In downward dog externally rotate your shoulders. You can externally rotate your shoulders by turning the crease of your elbows towards your thumb. In plank pose depress your scapula (shoulder blades) by pressing the head of your shoulders in the direction of your heels. If you have hyper extended elbows or knees you must adjust for those in a different way so be sure to tell your teacher about these slight deviations from the norm.

5. Some poses aren’t for everyBody. If any pose is causing you pain, immediately change it and modify it in a way that intuitively feels more comfortable or stop doing it all together. You should feel free to sit out poses that aren’t right for you and change the dynamics and biomechanics of a pose to meet your body’s needs. There are hundreds of poses and every pose isn’t right for every body.

6. Realize and celebrate the fact that everyone is your superior. Yoga is not a competition. You are not practicing the principles of yoga if you are looking around the room and competing or comparing yourself to your neighbor. Focus on you. After all, you are doing yoga for YOUR health and YOUR wellbeing. After class no one is going to care or remember what you did or didn’t do during the class and you probably won’t care what anyone else did or didn’t do. Each individual will find they are more adept and attracted to certain elements of yoga more than others.

7. Consider taking a workshop or a yoga teacher training course. Even if you don’t intend to teach yoga, a yoga teacher training course or a yoga workshop may increase your knowledge and understanding of yoga and that is bound to help you stay safe in your own practice.


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