Yoga can be harder that it looks! Here are a few tips for reducing the risk of yoga injuries during your practice…
Some people having never done yoga tend to think “How hard can it be to do a bunch of stretching exercises?” In reality, yoga can be quite strenuous, especially as you move into more advanced classes, and injuries can occur if you aren’t careful (and sometimes even when you are).
Keeping these 5 smart tips in mind as you practice yoga can help reduce the risk of yoga injuries:
1) Do it right
If you are just starting yoga, join an instructor-led class so you can learn how to do the poses the correct way. Once you know how, then you can move on to doing yoga on your own at home from a DVD or a YouTube video. Because many of the poses rely heavily on balance and technique, if done wrong, injuries can occur.
2) Warm up
Doing yoga involves stretching muscles to increase flexibility. However, if you try to stretch too far, too soon with cold muscles, you run the risk of a tear or pull. Almost every yoga routine is done in a sequence. Part of that sequence are moves or poses that warm-up the muscles in preparation for more strenuous postures. If you are doing yoga at home, warm-up by walking or jogging in place and then do a few sun salutation poses to get stretched out before beginning your practice.
3) Listen to your body
Yoga should be challenging – otherwise you won’t get as much out of it. However, it should not hurt. If when doing a pose you feel a twinge or pain, stop and rest. When ready, slowly try the pose again. If it still hurts, then try using a prop with that pose. If that does not help, then it would be a good idea to skip that pose or substitute a similar pose that is more comfortable for you in its place.
4) Focus on yourself
The only person that really matters to you in a yoga class is you. If you are focused on trying to keep up with your classmate beside or in front of you, you run a higher risk of injuring yourself. Yoga is not a competition, so keep your focus on doing the pose correctly to the best of your ability, and don’t worry how someone else is doing it. When you focus on yourself first, you’ll notice when a pose doesn’t feel right and you can stop or modify the pose before you suffer an injury.
5) Bring your own mat and props
This last tip is not about injury as much as it is about the spread of disease and illnesses. Because many people may use the same studio mat and props within a single day, let alone in a week, you can’t know for sure how clean these items may be – or what germs they may be harboring.
To avoid picking up viruses, or transmittable diseases such as athletes foot, it is a good idea to bring your own mat and props if you can. That way you know when (and how) they were last cleaned. Besides, it is nice to have your own equipment on hand and it is not that expensive to buy.
These 5 tips can help you reduce your risk of illness or injury when doing yoga. Now grab your mat and have some yoga fun!