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How to prevent Yoga Injuries

Updated on July 5, 2012

Yoga For Fitness And Health

Yoga is quickly becoming the number one form of relaxation and exercise. With yoga practitioners reaping major benefits like increasing strength, improving flexibility, develop proper techniques of breathing, improving balance and improving endurance, doctors are also reporting a surge in yoga-related injuries. The popularity of yoga has brought newer practitioners who rush into the regime and injure themselves badly.

Yoga Poses

Yoga Stretch
Yoga Stretch

Yoga Injuries

Statistics have shown that over 5000 yoga-related injuries were seen by doctors in the United States alone; with common injuries that includes overstretched neck, knees, spine and legs. It is common for injuries to occur when practitioners have former ailments, and as such, yoga has aggravated these injuries and caused practitioners the inability to practice yoga. We take a look at some of the tips to consider before you take up yoga lessons to prevent injuries.

How to Prevent Yoga Injuries

1. If you have an old injury, speak to your doctor before you participate. Your doctor would know whether you have enough finesse to get through yoga sessions. While you know your body best, doctors are more knowledgeable in their field and would make the best guess whether yoga is the right fitness regime for you.

2. Always listen to your body. While the first few yoga sessions will be uncomfortable for you, know when to step back, pause and stop. Pain is an indication of when you should stop. Always listen to it and do not force and overexert yourself during yoga. You may never know that holding a position long enough could push your body too far and everything would go wrong.

3. Yoga is not a competition. Do not compete with others. Many yoga-related injuries occur when practitioners try to outdo each other with a better pose and end up biting off more than they can chew. Even if your friends cheer you on to do a full pose, you should never feel pressurized as yoga is about implementing techniques with proper breathing; yoga is not about succumbing to peer pressure.

How to Avoid Yoga Injuries

6. Do not attempt a steep progression level. Usually, places that conduct yoga have different classes on different days. Start off slow and do not jump classes if you are still uncomfortable with poses in your class. Beginner classes are usually smaller so instructors can concentrate on every individual’s pose. Beginner classes are also meant to improve your flexibility and balance so it would not be wise to spend only a couple of weeks in beginner class or you will find that your body is not flexible enough for more advanced level poses.

7. Qualified instructors are crucial. Due to the growing popularity of yoga, some yoga classes are conducted by frauds who are not proper yoga instructors and only out to make money from you. Ensure your instructors have proper credentials from Yoga Alliance, who awards certification levels to those who have practiced 200 hours or 500 hours of yoga. These qualified instructors will definitely limit the amount of injuries in the class and push you according to your level.

4. Be aware of these zones: Neck, knees, lower back and hamstrings. When you are about to move on to a technique and pose that stretches any of the above mentioned part of the anatomy, pay more careful attention to yourself. These are the areas that have been reported with the highest amount of yoga-related injuries and are very injury-prone so if you feel uncomfortable, step back and attempt a partial pose instead.

5. Set realistic goals. Never attempt advanced yoga poses unless you are accomplished practitioner and have been practicing yoga for several years. They require a substantial amount of strength, balance, flexibility and years of practice. Attempting advanced poses as a novice will definitely only end up injuring you and cutting short your experience as a yogi.

So, if you have ensured and checked yes to all the above, it is finally time for you to get into your attire and get ready for your session of yoga. May you get the best out of your yoga practice, good luck and have fun!


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      Charry Morris 6 years ago

      Thank you SunSeven. This is a super important article that should be read by all beginning yoga students. Yoga is a great way to get and stay in shape but there are some risk involved if done wrong. Point #2 really stands out for me-Listen to your body!!! Thanks again,


    • ocbill profile image

      ocbill 8 years ago from hopefully somewhere peaceful and nice

      well, interesting. I listened to my body after too many leg kicks and the many hand stands requied in capoeira put too much undue pressure so had to stop. All is fine now. I guess some people are not meant for certain sports and/or exercises.