Common Yoga Injuries and How to Prevent Them
Yoga is well known for its benefits to mental and physical health. It can help relieve anxiety and depression as well as improve muscle strength and flexibility. However, just one poorly executed pose can quickly lead to injury. To help you be aware before you head to your next yoga class, below is information on yoga injuries, recovery, and how to prevent them.
What Are the Most Common Yoga Injuries?
Fortunately, most injuries from yoga aren’t serious, but serious injuries do sometimes occur. Some of the most common yoga injuries can be categorized as:
Over-extensions: Many injuries from yoga come from over-extending. You try to push too far past your hamstring’s flexibility and strain or tear the muscles, you bend your knee too far or the wrong way, or you over-extend a twist or a back bend, damaging the spinal discs or pulling the muscles.
Overloading: It is also common to injure oneself by overloading the neck, wrists, elbows, or shoulders, leading to damage to the rotator cuff or cervical spine, sprains, and loss of range of motion.
Which Yoga Poses Cause the Most Injuries?
Just about any yoga pose can lead to injuries if you aren’t careful, but there are some common culprits. These poses include:
Inversions (handstands, headstands, and shoulder stands): These are the most common causes of injuries among yoga practitioners (particularly beginners and those with chronic joint conditions). They carry a high risk of strains and tears as well as injuries from falling.
Backbends (Cobra, Upward Facing Dog, Wheel, etc.): Certain backbends carry a high risk of over-extending the spine and should be avoided if you have a history of back and neck problems.
Which Yoga Poses Are the Best for Recovering from Injuries?
Not everything about yoga is risky, and some can even be incorporated into physical therapy. If you are recovering, some yoga exercises that can help you recover include:
Seated exercises: If you are recovering from an injury, you can perform yoga poses seated on a chair. You can also use the chair for standing exercises to help you maintain your balance without extra strain.
Breathing exercises: Incorporating breathing and meditation into your yoga practice helps you relax and take stock of your body—what hurts, what feels tight, etc.—so that you know which areas to focus on and when to back off.
What Is the Best Way to Prevent Injuries?
Still, it is better to prevent injuries in the first place rather than. Some tried and true methods for preventing such injuries include:
Warm up: Many injuries come from stretching cold muscles. A proper warm-up will limber up the muscles for increased flexibility.
Take it slow: Don’t rush in and out of poses—take your time, especially if it is your first time in a pose, and always use proper form.
Physical therapy: If you have a history of injury or chronic pain, you can use physical therapy to strengthen your problem areas and prevent future injuries.