Yoga may sound like the type of activity that’s so gentle and progressive it’s almost impossible to hurt yourself. Unfortunately this isn’t quite the case.
As with all physical forms of activity, without a bit of proper care and prevention, you’re just as much at risk from a yoga injury as any other sport. Protect yourself by learning a few expert pointers.
Listen to Your Body
Depending on your personality, your yoga instructor, and your fellow classmates, it can be easy to get a bit competitive. Pushing your body too far on any given day can quickly result in painful yoga injuries.
Understand that some days may be better days than others. Your sleep, diet, and focus can all affect your performance. Instead of thinking ‘I managed this pose last week,’ or ‘Jo is rocking this pose, I need to do better,’ listen to what your body is telling you. If it’s a day to push yourself, then great. If it’s a day to hold back, then hold back.
Choose a Skilled Yoga Instructor
Yoga is extraordinarily popular. There are classes in just about any community across the country. The vast growth of yoga means an increasing number of instructors. However, all instructors are not created equally. Some are quite skilled. Others, not so much.
The unskilled or questionable instructors can cause injuries by pushing students too far or by positioning your body in a pose that you’re not ready for. Pay attention to your instructors demeanor. How do they handle beginner students? Additionally, review their credentials. How long have they been teaching and where did they get their certification?
Everyone starts yoga at the same place, as a beginner. Allow yourself to be a beginner and ease into the practice. It can take some time to find the right instructor and yoga type for your needs and personality. To avoid yoga injuries, allow yourself time to learn and your body time to adapt.
Additionally, give your body time to warm up and cool down before class. As you ease into each class, and out of it, you’re giving your body time to adapt and do what you request of it. That also means going into postures slowly and coming out of them slowly, too.
Finally, don’t try to go to a yoga class once a week or once a month. The more time you give your body to learn the movements and become flexible and strong, the better your classes will be.
And most importantly you’ll reduce your risk of injury. Yoga is wonderful for your body, mind, and spirit. Take it easy on yourself and prevent injuries so you can enjoy your practice year round.