Many people having never done yoga tend to think “How hard can it be to do a bunch of stretching exercises?” In reality, yoga is a sport, and like in any sport, injuries can occur. These 5 tips will help reduce the risk of injury while doing yoga:
1) Do it right
If you are just starting yoga, join a class so you can learn how to do the poses the correct way. Once you know how, then you can do a yoga routine off of a DVD or a YouTube video. Because many of the poses rely on balance and technique, if done wrong, injuries can occur.
2) Warm up
Doing yoga involves stretching muscles to increase flexibility. However, if you try doing many of the poses with cold muscles, you run the risk of a tear or pull. Almost every yoga routine is done in a sequence. Part of that sequence are moves or poses that warm-up the muscles in preparation for more strenuous postures. If at home, warm-up by walking in place or do a few sun salutation poses to get stretched out.
3) Listen to your body
Yoga should be challenging, otherwise you would not get much out of it; however, it should not hurt. If when doing a pose you feel a twinge or pain, stop and rest. Once when ready, slowly try the pose again. If it still hurts, then try using a prop with that pose. If that did not help, then you may want to eliminate or substitute a similar pose that does not hurt in its place.
4) Focus on yourself
The only one that matters in a yoga class is you. However, if you are focused on trying to keep up with your classmate to the side or in front of you, you run the risk of injuring yourself because the focus was not on you. Yoga is non-competitive, so keep your focus on doing the pose correctly or at least doing the best you can and don’t worry how someone else is doing it. With the focus on you, you’ll notice when a pose doesn’t feel right and you can stop before suffering an injury.
5) Bring your own mat and props
This last tip is not about injury as much as it is about disease and illnesses. Because many people may use the same studio mat and props within a single day, let alone in a week, the cleanliness of the items could be in question.
To prevent yourself from picking up something as simple as athlete’s foot, or more dangerous such as a virus, bring your own mat and props. That way you know when (and how) they were last cleaned. Besides, it is nice to have your own equipment and it is not that expensive to buy.
By using these 5 tips when doing yoga, you reduce the risk of getting hurt or sick. Now get out there and have fun!