Yoga have always been extolled for its long list of health benefits — from reducing stress to increasing strength to improving flexibility. Many athletes even turn to yoga to help deal with injuries associated with overuse and heal quickly. However, are you aware that the calm yoga fitness routine can also lead to, rather than help heal, injuries?
Most yoga injuries happen gradually due to constant misalignment and overstretching. In fact, this interesting New York Times article talked about how a long-time yoga practitioner and instructor had to undergo surgery to deal with excruciating pain resulting from a yoga-related injury.
You don’t have to stop your downward dog routine if you’ve been doing yoga for a while now. Nor should you think about not giving yoga a try because you’re afraid of getting injured. Below is a quick guide to staying injury-free as you ommm your way to increased flexibility and strength.
1. Warm up! Basic stretching such as shoulder and neck rolls can help prepare the body for more complex poses. Don’t forget to warm up the mind as well before practice by taking a few deep breaths.
2. Do not rush yourself into difficult poses. Take it easy in the beginning and do not expect to be able to do a headstand on your first few sessions. In fact, it’s perfectly normal not to be able to touch your heels to the floor in the downward dog pose the first time you hit the mat.
3. Come out of a certain pose in a gradual and slow manner.
4. Listen to your body and don’t be afraid to evolve at your own pace.
5. Communicate to your instructor. If you think you won’t be able to do a certain pose, don’t do it. Do not be embarrassed if you’re not ready yet to hold a certain pose perfectly. Modifications can actually be done and will help the body gradually gear up to its full variation without increasing your risk of injury.
6. Find a highly-experienced and qualified yoga instructor.
7. Schedule an appointment with Plancher Orthopedics before signing up for a yoga class! We will assess the presence of underlying physical weakness or mobility issues that will most likely increase your risk of getting injured when doing yoga.
Call us at 212.876.5200 or fill out our contact form to schedule an appointment today.