Yoga is a beautiful practice that may be great for your health and sense of wellbeing, easing stress and relieving the symptoms of various health problems. Yoga may also assist in improving flexibility, cardiovascular fitness, balance and reducing anxiety.
However, yoga can also cause injury when you do it at home without the supervision of a teacher. It’s essential to set up your yoga matt with enough space in your home to avoid any accidents or harm. You never know how quickly your body may lose balance and hit nearby furniture or knock fragile items onto the floor. Also, if you have young children, it may be worth investing in child safety products in your home for extra reassurance in keeping them safe – especially when you’re trying to fit in a quick yoga workout at home and may not be able to keep an eye on them at all times.
In terms of practicing yoga itself, you should remember that it should never hurt. There are many ways you can injure yourself without the proper know-how or not listening to your body. The following areas are where you can injure yourself doing yoga:
- Lower back
If you’re too enthusiastic about bending forward or doing the splits before you’re ready, you can irritate the hamstring muscle, the largest muscle we have and when it’s injured, tight or irritated it can affect the rest of the body. Your yoga teacher will tell you to use your quadriceps (the front thigh muscles) to prevent hamstring injury.
Don’t bend forward if you’ve injured or pulled your hamstring unless you make sure you bend your knees, better still rest the muscle, ice it, and elevate the leg whenever you get the chance.
Your pectorals or chest muscles are tight if you find that your shoulders are rounded and when lifting our arms up over your head, you can’t straighten them. It also means your rhomboids or back muscles are weak. You’ll find the tendons in your shoulders will be irritated doing a vinyasa practice (yoga push-ups and arm balances) as well.
Do the following but make sure you stop if there’s any pain: Strengthen your rhomboids by lying face down with your arms by your sides then lift your arms and upper torso and stretch your shoulder and arms forward in the direction of your feet. Open your pectorals by lying on your back on a mat that’s been rolled up. Place the mat at your lower ribs in line with your spine and place your arms by your sides. Then lift your arms over your head and stretch them as far as you can with no pain or discomfort.
Lower back/Sacroiliac Pain
Any practice that includes twists or a straight-legged forward bend can place too much stress on the sacroiliac joints – they are the two bony bits at the top of your sacrum. You could tear the annular fibres protecting your lower back and poses such as the revolved triangle (parivrtta trikonasana) can also trigger lower back and sacroiliac pain.
If you can increase the spaces between each vertebra it can ease lower back stress, so try lengthening the spine before folding forward. Bend your knees until you find your limitation and gently stretch back. When doing a twisting pose, engage your core and begin the twist from initiate the twist from it which will completely release your pelvis.
Wrists and Knees
Knees: Yoga demands a lot from the knees which have enough to do bearing our weight as it is. However, if done correctly, yoga can strengthen them to slow down some musculoskeletal diseases and prevent injuries. However, if you don’t listen to them, it can be disastrous for knees. Wrists can be damaged when your weight during a pose is on the wrists, such as downward dog.
You may ease any wrist discomfort or injury by changing how you support yourself. Try forming a fist or lower down to your forearms rather than having your hands flat. A fist can take the weight off of your wrists and help strengthen them. If you feel knee discomfort during a pose, either pull back or pull out of the pose – Yoga may help strengthen inner and outer quadriceps equally, so they draw on the ligaments equally, keeping the kneecap aligned.
- Never go to a class or do a pose that’s beyond your physical limits.
- Check with the teacher and ask for help you change a pose to suit your limits.
- Proper alignment is necessary but not all bodies are created equal so never let a teacher push you into a pose; if your body is resisting, tell your teacher to stop.
- Never think someone else knows your body better than you know it and remember, yoga should never be painful.
Alex Morrison has worked with a range of businesses giving him an in depth understanding of many different industries including home improvement, financial support and health care. As the owner of Integral Media, he is now utilising his knowledge and
experience with his rapidly increasing client portfolio to help them achieve their business goals.