It goes without saying that yoga – a spiritual practice that has been around for over 5000 years – has become today’s hottest trend for the mind and body.  It is a great way for people to de-stress and quiet their minds from their chaotic lifestyles and regain balance.

There are four components to good physical health: flexibility, balance, strength, and aerobic capacity. Yoga can help your body accomplish all of these things.  And the best part? All you need is your body and a yoga mat!

Did you know that yoga also has a rejuvenating effect on all of these systems of the body?

  • Musculoskeletal
  • Circulatory
  • Digestive
  • Nervous
  • Glandular
  • Respiratory
  • Reproductive

That said, as you know, there is a risk of injuries in any type of activity or sport.  People can even get injured from something as simple as going for a walk. When it comes to yoga, most injuries develop gradually from years of over-stretching and misalignment.

Here are some key guidelines to follow when it comes to your yoga practice:

See a health professional.  Before engaging your body in a yoga practice, it is a great idea to visit your doctor or physiotherapist if you have a chronic illness or longstanding musculoskeletal injury. It’s important to know what types of movements you should avoid to prevent further injury.

Buy proper clothing that is comfortable and allows for ease of movement.

Always stretch before yoga class.  If you just get right into it without warming up, stretching cold muscles and tendons can lead to injury.  You need to prepare your body for what’s to come and loosen up a bit.  Neck and shoulder rolls, combined with other gentle movements are key.

Take some deep breaths to get centered and into a better state of relaxation.

Find a qualified instructor at a yoga studio that has developed a great reputation. Asking friends for referrals is a good idea as well.

Start with beginner yoga classes.  You may feel the urge to rush into more advanced poses, but pushing your body without it being ready is asking for injury.  Ease into your yoga practice and focus on developing a proper foundation, then work your way up from there. Listen to your body.  No one runs a marathon without weeks or months or training, after all.

Ask questions!  Unsure if you are doing a pose correctly? Not sure how to properly use props? That is what your instructor is there for.

Don’t compare yourself to others.  Everyone’s body is different and has endured different injuries in the past, so what may seem simple for one person, may feel really painful for another.  You may also feel more tightness or be more sensitive to strain at certain times.  Don’t be shy to skip a yoga pose here or there, and instead focus on something that will be beneficial for your body. Your instructor will be able to suggest modifications for you as well.

Don’t rush out of your posture.  Some yoga poses are held for several minutes. The best thing to always keep in mind is to get yourself out of a pose as slowly as you got into it.

Don’t lock your joints, as this increases the chances of wearing them out and causing injury in the future.  You want to instead focus on engaging your muscles around your joints to gain stability.

Keep yourself hydrated.  This is important for any type of activity or yoga class, but especially important if you are participating in a hot yoga class because your body will be perspiring at a greater rate.

Always stay for Shavasana, which is the final resting pose at the end of yoga class. This allows your nervous system to slow down and bring proper closure to your practice.

What if I injure myself in yoga class?

Should you happen to injure yourself, seek treatment as soon as possible to prevent the injury from getting worse.  Also, the sooner you address your injury, the quicker you will heal to get back into your practice.

Located in the Vancouver area?

Our Vancouver physiotherapy team can treat your yoga injuries and get you back on track. We love helping people return to their normal activity. Give us a call at Dunbar Physio today: 604-266-3303