By Dr Nausheen Taqi,
Senior Spine Specialist, QI Spine Clinic.
A mat on your floor and peace on your mind! An injury would be the last thing you'd be expecting. The rapid increase in the practice of Yoga by fitness enthusiasts makes it necessary to learn how to avoid Yoga injuries. Many individuals of all ages are recommended to begin Yoga for varied reasons by their physicians, dietitians, counselors, and well-wishers. Its holistic nature and wonderful after effects make Yoga the most sought-after fitness preference. Although Yoga is preached to be easy to learn, learning it shouldn’t be hurried. If learned the wrong way, it can lead to unexpected discomfort.
Here is why you need to avoid Yoga injuries.
Why is Yoga Injury a Common Occurrence?
A majority of those who are introduced to Yoga are those who are in need of restoration of health- physical, mental and spiritual. We need to understand that learning Yoga has to be under the strict guidance of experts. Also, the training has to be rightly paced. Hurried learning of Yoga can lead to improper learning of techniques, compensations in poses and abnormal stress over various structures in the body.
Yoga practice is studied to have caused many unpleasant effects ranging from musculoskeletal injuries to nerve related injuries and others. A comprehensive study in 2013 by Cramer and his colleagues show that Yoga has been a known cause of many adverse effects among Yogis. But the fact that can be underlined is - almost all of these injuries could be avoided!
Here is a Spine Specialist’s guide on how you can avoid Yoga injuries:
Know if Yoga is right for you: Yoga is a means of increasing harmony of body, mind, and spirit. Although beneficial for anyone as a whole, it should be practised with care if you already have conditions that can be worsened by Yoga. Someone with eye conditions should avoid inversions. Backbends should not be performed by individuals who have had chronic back pain or radiating leg pain.
Find the right teacher: A right instructor will guide you through your learning process. In Yoga Teacher Training Course, one learns when to learn Yoga and how to learn Yoga in the right way and at the right pace.
Warm up: Beginning your Yoga routine with light stretches will reduce the stress that you put over your body. It will also make it easier to perform Asanas.
Props and support: Using the right support, mat, wall, floor, Yoga blocks, belts will help you support your body and avoid unpleasant injuries and strains.
Strength training: Yoga causes an increase in flexibility of various structures in your body, but your body may not be strong enough to endure the training. Beginning resistance training to increase the strength of muscles is a good way of ensuring an adequate balance that exists in the body between strength and flexibility.
Knowing what is right for you: A headstand at the early stages of learning Yoga is a major invitation to injury. Learn when the right time for you to perform an asana is.
Knowing why you need to do it: Understand the reasons for performing an asana. Find out the benefits of each pose as well as the ways in which the same poses can go wrong. When done in the right manner, you can avoid putting excessive stress over muscles and nerves and save yourself and others from harm.
Consult a Spine Specialist: It is not advisable to pursue Yoga when you are physically unprepared. Consulting a Spine Specialist can help you understand if your spine is prepared to take up the challenge of your pursuit of Yogic asanas. A Spine Specialist will also help you to prepare your body to handle the added effort required for Yoga.