Sunday, 21 May 2017

Avoiding yoga injuries

Thankfully yoga is relatively safe compared to other sports and activities but worryingly they are on the increase especially among seniors.  This may simply be that more people are taking up yoga (there are now around 30 million practicing worldwide) and more seniors want to stay well as they age (good for you!!) and are turning to yoga.  However it is important to start with a more gentle practice if you haven't practiced yoga before.  That said there is no reason why, if you follow the guidelines below, your practice should not be injury free.  In a few weeks we will look at how yoga can actually help prevent injuries off the mat.

  • Firstly before you start a yoga practice, check with your doctor that you are alright to do so.  
  • In yoga we practice 'ahimsa' which means non-harming which means not harming yourself as well as others.
  • Yoga is not competitive so if you attend public classes do not compare yourself to the person on the next mat and don't compare yourself to Instagram etc.  There is nothing to gain from straining into a pose and it may result in injury.  A good indicator is your breath - if your breath becomes strained come out of the pose and try a modified version, use props or skip the pose altogether.  I will always try to give you alternatives so that you can explore what feel beneficial for your body and remember this may be different on different days.
  • Take your time getting in and out of the asanas and when transitioning  between poses, listening to your body as you go.  This will allow you to 'feel your edge', that place where you can feel a stretch but not a strain.
  • If you practice at home always do some warm up poses at the start of your practice and cool down poses at the end of your practice.  

In the meantime you might find the following blog posts useful:-

'Protecting your neck in inversions' 
'Protecting your neck in seated twists'
'Protecting your neck in standing poses'
'Protecting your neck in back bends'
'Protect your SI joint'
'Protect your knees in floor poses'
'Protecting your back in back bends'
'Protecting your hamstrings and lower back in seated forward bends'

Next week we will be looking at how to protect your spinal discs in yoga twists.  

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