Common Yoga Injuries:

Yoga is a discipline that has seen tremendous success, particularly in recent years. This ancient tradition has reinvented itself in the Western world. In fact, spreading like a wildfire throughout the globe. However, did you know there is a chance yoga can cause an injury. Oftentimes, there are more common yoga injuries. According to MyFitnessPal, 5 common injuries that can occur include;

  • Hamstring attachment strain;
  • Wrist pain;
  • Neck tightness;
  • Rotator cuff injuries;
  • and lower back pain.

common yoga injuries

We know that what we speak is somewhat counterintuitive to what yoga is all about, right? Oftentimes, a practice recommended for injury prevention or even recovery from an injury. However, like any exercise regimen, injury can happen. Improper form. Going to hard to fast. Furthermore, practicing as a novice without the help from a certified instructor. There are risks involved.

In fact, one systematic review of yoga concluded a “considerable proportion of yoga practitioners experience injuries or adverse evens”. That being said, most were mild and comparable to non-yoga practitioners.

A cross sectional survey found “1 in 5 adult yoga users reported at least 1 acute adverse effect in their yoga practice”. “1 in 10 reported a chronic adverse effect”. Most of these were musculoskeletal effects. Specifically for this survey, related to hand-, shoulder- and head stands, without supervision.

Why Do We Tell You This?

Simply for awareness purposes. Truly, so each individual understands there’re risks in everything we do in life. Specifically, when discussing yoga or exercise regimen(s), it’s important to understand and respect your body and limitations. Furthermore, seek expert advice before beginning a new fitness regimen.

Oftentimes, injuries in yoga occur during execution. So, even if the mind and body is ready to indulge in the practice, you should also ask yourself if starting with an instructor would be most beneficial.

Yoga can be a risky discipline, especially when placed in the hands of instructors unable to recognize behaviors that are negative for the health of those who practice it.

Yoga is a complex disciple. It should not be taken lightly. We believe one culprit behind this issue lies in the spread of yoga in a “recreational” form. Specifically when places (gyms, etc.) place these techniques in the hands of unqualified people. Instructors who end up treating a millenary tradition as if it were Zumba Fitness, ignoring the possible damages and the true nature of the techniques utilized.

Yoga should bring well-being and health. However this is not always the case. A relaxing session could turn into the cause of much greater damage, than perhaps those pains we thought we would heal.

yoga wrist pain

Reasons For Common Yoga Injuries:

Okay, so continuing this conversation, which can certainly be an interesting one to the say the least. Specifically, let’s discuss reasons for common yoga injuries, within the discipline itself. As previously mentioned there are a slew of reasons injuries can happen, just like in fitness or sport. However, having said that, we don’t want to discourage your yoga journey.

Many injuries that occur are avoidable. Many of them come from lack of knowledge. Potentially, watching someone on the Internet that simply does not have the best intentions or the education to provide valuable information and guidance.

Lack of progression:

A frequent cause of injury in any business, is based on results. Being impatient, and attempting things too fast without giving your body a chance to adapt. Part of becoming an intermediate or expect yogi is about mindset. Its being aware of your limitations and then using your resources to help you get to the place you want to be.

Oftentimes, it just takes time and perseverance for your body to be ready to assume certain positions. To skip these stages with shear willpower can help us achieve a result faster, but at what price!

Lack of warm up 

Sometimes the “warm-up” is considered boring, we know. However, it’s important. The “warm-up” has the function of raising the body temperature and therefore improving the elasticity characteristics of the tissues. Potentially, even decreasing the possibility of injuries. Does every yogi do a warm-up. No, not necessarily, but it is a good habit to get into.

Mis-understanding It’s Purpose/Knowing Your Boundaries:

In spite of the enormous amount of information on physical and mental benefits, some tend to overlook the “less glorious” aspects.

Above all, yoga’s a practice linked to a spirituality and to a personal search (and this is perhaps the reason why it should be started for many). Detached from the spiritual and moral side, it becomes an exercise like any other. Thus, the pros and cons must be evaluated in each individual case.

An intense practice such as Ashtanga or Bikram can be pleasant and liberating. Oftentimes, becoming an aerobic workout, thus releasing ‘feel good’ hormones (endorphins), do not push your body beyond it’s limits, without a progression.

Additional Ways To Avoid Common Yoga Injuries:

Leave The Competition Aside:

Competition can be a great things, right! Oftentimes, brining out the best in people. However, it’s not always positive when it comes to comparing ourselves to others. In fact, it can cause you do deviate outside of your comfort zone. Engaging in poses or styles of yoga, you’re not ready for.

Does this mean you can’t learn from others? Of course not! Learning from others is one thing. Trying to willfully force yourself to do something you’re not ready for is another. Be kind. Be respectful to your body!

Don’t Just Practice To Be Good:

Get out of your head “to become good at yoga”. The purpose of yoga is not to become “good”.
The purpose of doing yoga is to feel good. To gain vigor and psychophysical well-being. Furthermore, to know and improve yourself, and show potential. Yoga for many has a strong spiritual presence, or to awaken the memory of their own divine.

yoga is to feel good

Listen To Your Body/Respect your Limits:

Easy to say, harder to do!

Fact is, the mind tends to wander. Keeping the mind right, even tests long-time practitioners. This too is part of a path, of a continuous training. Thus, becomes a discipline of the mind; essential for the higher stages of yoga (pratyahara; dharana; dhyana; samadhi).

Oftentimes, when you’ve mastered particular poses, the level of attention is lowered. It’s easy in this state to slip into a kind of automatism, whereby even if you are practicing, the mind is elsewhere.

Final Thoughts!

If you do get injured:

This post is not about how to heal an injury. However, what we can exclaim is if you do suffer a minor set back, rest. Take time to heal. See a medical profession if you believe it’s something serious. Then, ask yourself, what went wrong. Was it execution related? Is it a chronic pain your have? Did you rush yourself?

The first principle of yoga is ahimsa non-violence. Try to incorporate this into your practice.
Through practice, try to discover the difference between the discomfort that is needed to improve vs. the discomfort that precipitates getting hurt.

Furthermore, use props (like a yoga block or a yoga strap) to make a pose more attainable or comfortable. Then, as your grow take that prop away.

Fact is, even if you apply all of these techniques, injuries can still occur. Importantly, one should not be seen as a failure, for it’s not wrong to make a mistake. Sometimes taking a step back is just what it takes to move forward.

Yoga is a process, and can be a transformational one at that.