Can Yoga Wreck Your Body?

Can yoga wreck your body? According to a recent article in The New York Times it definitely can! The article mentions a number of serious injuries that are thought to have resulted from yoga. Although it’s slightly dramatic and perhaps a little biased, it may contain a valid lesson…

Surprisingly, it’s a stark contrast to a previous article I posted about the benefits of yoga for back pain. How can yoga be both good for health and hazardous at the same time? By the way, this doesn’t just apply to yoga but can be extended to almost anything in life…and the answer is summed up in one word…moderation! The overwhelming majority of injuries that were cited resulted from forcing the body past its anatomical limits i.e. extreme postures…

If you practice yoga or are thinking about starting…how can you make sure this doesn’t happen to you? There are two parts to this…your teacher…and…you…

Your instructor should:

  • be properly qualified and experienced
  • have relatively small class sizes to allow for more personalised tuition (particularly for beginners)
  • ask students about any existing injuries
  • focus on technique and alignment during instruction
  • offer a variety of exercise options to allow for differing skill levels
  • correct students that are doing movements incorrectly
  • not try to push students past their limitations

You should:

  • wear clothing to allow free and easy movement
  • ask questions if unsure of any posture or movement
  • know your limitations…we’re all built differently and have our own strengths and weaknesses
  • be cautious with any existing injuries and perhaps even consult your doctor or therapist before starting yoga
  • avoid competition with others and with yourself
  • take the time to progress from beginner moves to more advanced moves
  • listen to your bodies…particularly when it comes to more vulnerable areas like the neck, low back and knees

Lastly, remember to have fun!