Yoga is an ancient practice that offers significant physical, health, mental and spiritual benefits. While yoga is safe and effective for improving strength, flexibility, balance and overall health and wellness, there can be a risk of injury if an asana is not performed properly or you push your body too far.
There are some tips to help you avoid injuries in your yoga practice, whether you take classes at a yoga studio or practice at home. Taking the time to learn the poses and follow some basic safety tips can help you prevent injuries that can derail your practice.
Many people successfully practice yoga at home. However, if you are new to the practice, it is advisable to practice with a trained and certified yoga instructor. Having a teacher with you when you are learning yoga poses will help you learn proper alignment in each asana. Your teacher can make minor corrections and guide you in the safest expression of the pose, so you get the full benefit without injury.
We tend to be competitive. You can walk into any gym, aerobics, or zumba class and find students attempting to outdo each other. This attitude is at odds with the philosophy of yoga. In yoga, there is no comparison with other students in the room and trying to stay up with more advanced students or hold poses longer than anyone in the room is counterintuitive and can cause injury.
It is important to move at your own pace in your yoga practice. Don’t worry about what others are doing around you. If you need to modify a pose, don’t insist on moving into the full pose before you are ready. Move slowly, gently and keep your body soft. Breathe into the pose and listen to your body. Start with modified and basic poses, while relaxing into the pose and don’t move on to more difficult versions of any asana before you are ready.
Each person knows his or her limitations. Honor and respect the limits of your body. This is true for specific asanas, as well as types of asanas. If you have wrist problems or weak wrists, don’t push to hold arm balances, while you are feeling pain in your wrist. Pain is a warning sign from your body. Listen to it and you will avoid injury.