Yoga is one of the most widely practised measures to stay fit and healthy. Although it is known to be an ancient practise, it was not until the recent time that yoga grabbed the eyeballs and became an integral part of fitness routine. A mat and a calm place is all you need to get started with yoga. You can practice it early in the morning at your home, in the evening in a park along with friends or try out few yoga stretches in your office either in a meeting room or in the washroom.
Yoga has become a way of living a healthy and peaceful life for many, thanks to the numerous health benefits that range from toning your body and improving digestion to relieving stress and pain. But what most of us do not ever think of is injuries associated with yoga. Yoga is not only practised by kids and adults but also elderly people, and pregnant women. In fact, it is recommended by physicians, dieticians, counsellors and well-wishers due to its holistic nature and myriad health benefits. However, one needs to know that yoga is easy to learn but learning it the right way is the key to prevent yoga injuries. It should be learned in a jiffy but practised slowly and steadily to reap its health. If learned the wrong way it can not only cause pain and discomfort but also leads to an increased risk of fractures. This is the reason Dr. Nausheen Taqi, Senior Spine Specialist, QI Spine Clinic, Mumbai shares few interesting tips to prevent yoga injuries.
Tips To Avoid Yoga injuries
A majority of those who are introduced to yoga are those who are in need of restoration of health be it physical, mental or spiritual. We need to understand that learning yoga asanas has to be under the strict guidance of a professional or an expert. Also, the training should be started at a slow pace initially and then gradually progressed. If learned the wrong way, it can lead to added stress on various parts of the body and many cause unpleasant effects on the body which range from musculoskeletal injuries to nerve-related yoga injuries.
According to a 2013 study, yoga is known to cause various adverse effects in people who perform yoga. However, it also shed light on the fact that most of these can be avoided by learning the right way to do yoga. Here is a spine specialist’s guide on how you can avoid yoga injuries.
1. Check if yoga is RIGHT for you: Yoga is a means of increasing harmony between the mind, body and soul. Although it is known to be beneficial for everyone, people who have certain health conditions are not advised to practise yoga as it can worsen the condition. For example, if you suffer from lung disease or any breathing difficulty, performing breathing techniques or pranayama might worsen the condition. Also, people with eye problems should avoid inversions. Backbends should not be performed by individuals who suffer from chronic back pain, shoulder pain, neck pain or radiating leg pain.
2. Look for the right teacher/expert: A right instructor will not only guide you through your learning process but also play a crucial role in helping you learn the right technique and prevent injuries. Opt for right professionals such as those who have done their training course from certified institutions as they are the ones who know how to perform yoga in the right way and at the right pace. Moreover, it can help you to minimize the risk of yoga injuries and reap its benefits.
3. Do not forget to warm up: Whether you are planning to play a sport, gymming or exercising, warming up and cooling down are the two crucial aspects that one has to bear in mind to avoid injuries. The same rule applies to yoga as well. Beginning your yoga routine with light stretches can not only relieve the sudden stress that you put on your body but also make it easier to perform asanas. Here’s more about the Do’s and Dont’s of Yoga.
4. Use the right props and support: Using the right support and props while performing yoga such as mat, wall, floor, yoga blocks, and belt can help you support your body and avoid unpleasant injuries and strains.
5. Do strength training: Yoga improves flexibility of various structures in your body but your body may not be strong enough to endure the training. So reap the benefits, add resistance training to your fitness schedule as it increases the strength of muscles. Moreover, this is a good way of ensuring an adequate balance of strength and flexibility.
6. Know what and why to do it: A headstand at the early stages of learning yoga is a major invitation to injury. This is why it is important to learn the right time to perform an asana. Also, understand the reasons for performing an asana such as the benefits of each pose as well as the ways in which the same poses can go wrong. Also, start slow and stretch as much as your body allows when you start as it helps to prevent injuries. Remember when yoga is done in the right manner, you can avoid putting excessive stress over muscles and nerves and save yourself and others from harm.
7. Consult a doctor: It is not advisable to do yoga when you are physically and mentally not in a position to do yoga. Also, if you experience any difficulty while performing yoga, stop it right way. If there is a chronic pain or discomfort, then consulting an expert can help. A spine specialist might help you to prepare your body to handle the added effort required for yoga, prevent yoga injuries and reap its benefits.
Follow these simple tips to avoid yoga injuries and get the most of the yoga asanas to lead a happy and healthy life.
(The article is reviewed by Dr. Swati Mishra, Medical Editor)
1. Cramer H, Krucoff C, Dobos G. Adverse events associated with yoga: a systematic review of published case reports and case series. PLoS One. 2013 Oct 16;8(10):e75515.