Blog By: Kavitha Iyer.
If you love yoga, you probably practice because it makes that tightness in your neck go away, loosens up your lower back and makes your limbs feel longer and looser.
But like any other type of activity or sport – injuries can happen.
A 2008 study out of Finland found that, among 300 yoga studios regulars surveyed, there were 1.18 injuries for every 1,000 hours of practice. And in a 2012 survey of 2,500 practitioners in Australia, 2.4 percent had a yoga-caused injury over the previous year.
Those are low rates, for certain, but bumps, bruises, sprains and worse do happen. Fortunately, most of these injuries are not serious, and they are preventable.
Here are Top 3 Most Common Yoga Injuries and How to Prevent them:
1. Hamstring tears, pulls, or over-stretching
Cause: Hamstring injuries can arise from forcing yourself too far in forward folds with straight legs, or forcing your legs straight in any pose. They can also be caused by super quick, jerky movements.
Fix: Don’t force anything! Think less about getting your legs straight and think more about breathing into each pose. Use each inhale to lengthen a bit, and each exhale to relax a bit. Never use your hands to pull yourself deeper into a forward fold. When doing inversions, it’s important to keep your knees soft. Remember: Your body knows its limits!
2. Wrist pain
Cause: We aren’t used to being on our wrists! Plus we use them so much on keyboards and texting that they are already aggravated.
Fix: In down dog, plank, or arm balances (or anywhere you are on your wrists), think about alignment. Try to line your wrist creases up with the front edge of your mat and get a good spread of your fingers. Press into the bottom knuckles of your fingers (where they meet your hand), especially the knuckles of the forefinger and thumb. Also press into the top of your fingertips. Combined, these should help to alleviate the pressure that causes wrist pain.
3. Lower-back irritation
Cause: Rounding your spine trying to bring yourself too deeply into forward folds
Fix: When doing forward folds, try to think about lengthening your spine through each inhale you take. If seated forward folds are very challenging to you, try doing them sitting on a block or blanket, which will give you more room. Remember to keep your knees soft to avoid a hamstring injury.
Yoga is not a competition about forcing yourself into the shape of the person on the mat next to you or a picture you have seen. Your body is incredibly intelligent: If it tells you to back off, back off. Learn to move with ease and go with the flow. Find that flexibility in your mind, and your body will follow.
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