By Gopi Rao, Kimaya Singh, and Faye Martins
There’s no doubt that, on the whole, we’re better at preventing yoga injuries today compared to the past. For one, we have a lot more information now about how to practice safely and prevent injuries. Secondly, more high-quality yoga mats, props, and gear are available now than ever.
Are Injuries Preventable?
That doesn’t mean that yoga injuries are avoidable. They’re still quite common. The good news is that with little knowledge and attention, most yoga injuries are entirely preventable. So what are some of the most common yoga injuries? How can you avoid them? Is there a system for preventing yoga injuries today? Here’s a quick rundown:
1. Wrist Injuries: Wrist injuries are often caused by placing too much weight on the hands in poses like Plank or Downward Facing Dog. To avoid wrist injuries, distribute your weight evenly between your hands and your feet, and don’t put all your weight on your hands.
2. Shoulder Injuries: These injuries are often caused by incorrect alignment in poses like Chaturanga Dandasana (Low Plank) or Upward Dog. Keep your shoulders over your wrists in these poses, and don’t sink into your shoulders.
3. Back Injuries: Back injuries are often caused by incorrect alignment in forward bends like Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend) or Paschimottanasana.
How to Avoid Injuries
The rise in the popularity of yoga over the past few decades has led to a corresponding increase in the number of people seeking medical attention for yoga-related injuries. However, it’s hard to say whether this is due to more people practicing yoga or simply because we’re better at diagnosing and treating these injuries today. Various factors can contribute to a yoga injury, such as incorrect form, overstretching, or using too much force.
One of the most common causes is simply not being aware of your own limitations and pushing your body beyond its comfort zone. With that in mind, here are a few tips to help you avoid yoga injuries:
1. Listen to your body and take breaks when you need them.
2. Don’t try to achieve perfect form. Focus on doing the pose safely and effectively rather than how it looks.
3. Be mindful of your alignment and use props (blocks, straps, etc.) when needed.
4. Don’t compare yourself to other people in your class. Everyone has a unique body.
Student Safety Basics
There are a few basic things you should keep in mind when it comes to student safety while practicing yoga. First, be sure to have your students warm up properly before starting their practice. It’s also important to focus on correct alignment and form throughout the entire practice, and provide modifications as needed so that everyone can stay safe. Finally, ask them to listen to their bodies and never push beyond their limits. If they ever feel pain during a pose, they must come out of it immediately and rest.
Patience in Practice
Most people come to yoga for the physical benefits and strength-building exercises. They want to get strong and increase their flexibility. However, they may not realize that there are also mental and emotional benefits to be gained from practicing. Yoga can help students focus and connect with their bodies in a way unique from other forms of exercise. Now, we have to help them understand the value of patience during practice.
Be Aware of Risks
It is essential to be aware of the risks of injuries when participating in any physical activity, but especially when starting a new activity like yoga. Here are five tips to help you avoid injuries while practicing yoga:
1. Start slowly and gradually increase the intensity of your practice.
2. Listen to your body, and don’t push yourself beyond your limits.
3. Be aware of your alignment in each pose and use props if necessary.
4. Modify or skip any poses that cause pain or discomfort.
5. Breathe deeply and focus on your breath throughout your practice.
Obviously, movement comes with risk. Every day, people are injured while walking, running, and even just standing up. However, the risks of not moving at all are far greater. People who are inactive are more likely to suffer from obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and cancer. In addition, sedentary people are also more likely to experience anxiety and depression. The bottom line is that movement is essential for our health and well-being. While there is always some risk involved, the risks of not moving far outweigh the risks of low-impact movement.
The Value of Instruction
If the postures are performed incorrectly, with an excessive amount of force, or there is a lack of proper technique, injuries can occur. When practicing yoga, it is important to be mindful of your body and use proper form. If you feel pain, stop and modify the posture. Listen to your body and don’t push yourself beyond your limits. If you do experience an injury, it is important to seek medical attention and rest. Don’t try to “push through” the pain. Doing so could further injure yourself and lead to a long-term problem. If you have any doubts about whether or not you should be practicing a certain posture, consult with a qualified teacher.
This is extremely important. There are a number of risks that yoga teachers need to be aware of when it comes to students who practice with pre-existing injuries. The most common type of injury that can occur during yoga is a musculoskeletal injury, which can be caused by overstretching or strain on the muscles and joints. These types of injuries can be particularly serious for those who have pre-existing conditions such as osteoporosis or arthritis.
Pregnancy and Cardiovascular Health Conditions
Pregnant students belong in prenatal yoga classes. This is not up for debate, because prenatal yoga teachers are specialists trained for every trimester and postnatal situations. In addition, those with cardiovascular issues may also be at risk for complications from yoga, as some poses can put strain on the heart. Therefore, it is crucial that yoga teachers are aware of any medical conditions their students have before beginning a class.
© Copyright – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division
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