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Monday, February 15, 2016

Common Yoga Injuries

A yoga injury? Really? Doesn't seem possible. The very practice of gently stretching and holding poses is meant to relax the body and calm the mind. It is a great treatment for a number of medical conditions, including arthritis and osteoporosis. But just as with any sport or physical activity, if you have improper form or your intensity is, well, too intense, you may be at risk for injury.

Here are a few common yoga injuries to watch out for as you hit the mat (and how to avoid them):

  1. Pulled hamstrings: the hamstring muscle located at the back of the thighbone (or femur) can stretch or tear if you force yourself too far forward, and too quickly, in a pose with straight or locked legs.

    Prevention tip: don't use your hands to pull or walk yourself deeper into a fold or pose, and relax your legs/release the tension every few seconds while in a straight-legged pose

  2. Wrist pain: wrists are usually overworked in general from daily tasks like typing, writing, and driving... so using them to support your whole body weight in a yoga pose causes additional strain.

    Prevention tip: with downward dog, plank pose, or arm balances, concentrate on alignment, and line your wrists up with the front edge of your mat, get a good spread of your fingers, and center your body weight evenly over your wrists

  3. Low back pain: pressure put on your back from rounding the spine too deeply into forward folds can cause irritation

    Prevention tip: lengthen your spine as much as possible in forward folds and if seated folds are too difficult, sit on a block or blanket for extra support
Finally, with yoga, remember that no two bodies will look the same even with the exact same pose. Try not to compare yourself to your neighbor on the mat next door in terms of how far you go into a pose or how long you hold it. Do what feels comfortable for your body, and know your limits.

If you experience any pain that is severe or persistent as a result of yoga, make an appointment with your doctor.

(Adapted from Shape)

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