Did You Know?Several years of yoga practice may lead to consistent over-stretching and misalignment of muscles, which can be the leading cause of most yoga injuries.
The main objective of yoga is to provide exercise as well as relaxation to the body and mind. It is also believed that practicing yoga on a regular basis can keep diseases and illnesses at bay, while keeping you healthy and happy. The bodily health is maintained because the exercises incorporated in yoga practice challenge several body parts, and make them stronger.
However, if the poses are done incorrectly or with excessive force and stretching, it may affect your body adversely. Although serious injuries are rare in yoga, there are certain common injuries that cause pain, and also, at times, need medical help. The most common injury-prone areas are the wrists, knees, shoulders, and the lower back. Twists, sprains, and strains commonly occur in these areas, which may cause mild to severe pain.
How to Prevent Yoga Injuries
Look For a Competent Teacher
Basically, yoga is not something that can be learnt on your own by just watching someone. There has to be a well-qualified, professional 'guru' to take up your yoga sessions efficiently. While looking for a yoga teacher, make it a point to inquire about their qualifications, and if they have a government certification.
Avoid Being an Advanced Yogi
This is the most important factor to be considered while protecting yourself from yoga injuries. If your mindset is correct then half the battle is won. For instance, if you think that you can do a yoga posture very easily, by just looking at it, then probably you are a bit too overconfident. The fact is, all the advanced learners you get to see are extremely flawless in their postures, which makes them look easy, but these poses are actually very difficult. Hence, have a beginner's mind, and give yourself enough time to get into the perfect rhythm of yoga.
Avoid Being Competitive
It is important to get your thoughts clear beforehand – are you willing to practice yoga for your own good or to prove yourself better than your fellow mates. This is because sometimes our mind wants our body to stretch beyond the limits in order to be superior. You may feel an urge to compete with other people in the studio and force your body to stretch ... stretch ... and stretch more. However, this excessive stretching does no good to your body, and instead may leave you with an injury. Hence, avoid comparison with yourself or others in your yoga class.
Never Skip a Warm-up Session
When you attempt something like yoga or other normal exercises, the organs, especially the heart, forces itself to work more by increasing the blood flow. This sudden increase in the blood flow may prove extremely harmful to the body. Hence, to avoid a sudden increase in the blood flow, a quick warm-up session is essential. It warms up cold muscles, tendons, and ligaments, which, when cold, are prone to injury. It also increases the blood flow to the muscles, and lubricates the joints while preparing the body for complicated yoga postures.
Understand Your Own Comfort Level
Listening to your body is a must while participating in yoga practice. The body always indicates whether it is feeling comfortable or not, in a particular posture. If you don't listen to your body and go on holding the pose, it may cause pain or even tear a ligament. Therefore, pay attention to your body, and if while performing a pose you experience pain that is more than normal, release the pose immediately. If you experience difficulty while getting into a pose, try modifications or use certain props, like blocks, for support.
Despite taking good care of yourself and following the above-mentioned tips, you may get injured accidentally while practicing yoga. In such a situation, don't ignore any symptoms of persistent pain, and visit a doctor right away. Resume your yoga practice only when completely recovered from the injury. Also, make sure that you inform your yoga teacher about your latest injury so that he/she can plan a few simple and basic exercises for the first few days when you return to class.