5 Ways to Avoid Injury During Yoga
Yoga isn’t a fast-paced contact sport, so you don’t have to worry about injuries right? Wrong. Just like any activity or exercise routine, you can get injured while practicing yoga.
Yoga may be gentle when compared to running, weightlifting or CrossFit – but when you move your body in new ways, the chances of over-stretching or injury become greater. An important part of yoga is connecting to your body, treating it with care and noticing it how it feels.
Whether you are interested in beginning a yoga practice or have been practicing for a while, there are a few things to keep in mind to help you stay injury-free.
Here are 5 tips to stay injury-free during your yoga practice:
1. Prepare your mind and body before class
Preparing your body before any physical activity is essential to staying injury-free. Make sure your body is hydrated and fueled properly before class to help your body function at its best.
Another great habit to begin before class is practicing pranayama to help your mind become more quiet and able to listen to your body during your yoga practice, which in turn will help you avoid injury.
Gently moving and stretching before your yoga class begins will help cold muscles avoid strains and tears. Need some tips on stretching? Check out Stretches Yogis + Athletes Should ALWAYS Incorporate.
2. Listen to your body, not your ego
In order to progress in our yoga practice, we need to challenge ourselves and step out of our comfort zone. But it is important to be aware of the intention behind pushing yourself in your yoga practice.
There’s a difference between finding your edge and pushing past it to a point of pain or harm.
Yoga is also about leaving your ego at the door and making space for real growth – not pushing yourself to a point of injury. Work up to new poses gradually, and don’t view other students in class as competition. If your body is not comfortable in a pose, it may not be ready to move that way.
There’s a difference between finding your edge and pushing past it to a point of pain or harm
Check out, 5 Ways to Drop Your Ego in Yoga for more tips to listen to your body and not your Ego.
3. Focus on proper alignment
Proper alignment is a very important part of staying injury-free in your yoga practice. If you are struggling with alignment or getting in and out of a yoga pose, ask your teacher for support.
Your teacher can help you find proper form and show you the correct muscle engagement. They can also show you how to incorporate yoga props into your practice to help you find better alignment, and it’s important to remember that there’s no shame in your yoga game for using props – they can help any yogi at any level.
Want to get some yoga props for your yoga practice? Check out 10 Yoga Props You Actually Need.
4. Tell your teacher if you have injuries or medical issues
If you have pre-existing injuries or medical conditions that could impact your yoga practice, please tell your teacher. It is especially important if you do not know how to modify certain poses to keep the injury or condition from getting worse.
Conditions like arthritis, sciatica, shoulder injuries or low back pain all have modifications that can be helpful and bring further safety into your yoga practice.
If you are struggling with conditions that may be limiting your yoga practice, check out this article on Yoga Poses to Relieve Common Ailments to help you have a more beneficial yoga practice.
5. Find the right yoga style
It is important to find the right style of yoga that will most benefit you. Not everyone’s body is suited to practice Bikram Yoga or Power Yoga, so don’t push yourself if you don’t enjoy it, or if you feel it pushes your body too far.
Search for a yoga discipline, studio, and teacher that aligns with your needs and goals for practicing yoga in the first place. Keep in mind that you and your body often change, so notice if it is time try a different style of yoga.
Wondering which style of yoga you should practice? Take our Yoga Quiz to Find Out.
Much of avoiding a yoga-related injury is about listening to your body and honoring where you are in your yoga practice. Pain is your body asking you to back off, or telling you that what you’re doing isn’t good. If you feel a twinge, stop straight away.
Take time to slow down, evaluate where you are physically and mentally, and what would most benefit you during your time on the mat. Allow that to be your guide so you can have a safe, beneficial, and enjoyable yoga practice injury-free!
Have you ever been injured during yoga? Do you think these tips will help you stay injury-free during your yoga practice? We love hearing from you, so please leave feedback in the comments below.