Yoga is a holistic practice but no matter how hard you take care of yourself, an injury may still come in the way. If you know some tips, you can come up with a yoga injury prevention checklist. This is important so you can keep going on your yoga practice. Just remember that as much as advance postures are inviting, it will never be safe to skip the ladder of progression.
Here, I listed some of the simple tips you can heed.
1. Don’t push too hard
Pushing too hard means going beyond what your body can do at the moment. This is the shortcut to a serious injury. If your hamstrings can’t stretch for the forward bend, don’t force it and try some modification on the asana. Yoga shouldn’t be a burdensome task but an enjoyable, spiritual activity.
Don’t be too pressured with your classmates’ progress on his routine. This will only make you feel left out. Just keep in mind that every student is different from the other.
2. Let your teacher know about your limitations
It’s important that your teacher will know your injuries and physical limitations. This is so he won’t push you too much on an asana you can’t do. If you don’t communicate well, you’re headed for a future injury. That’s why it’s important to find a teacher you can trust and you’re most comfortable with.
Every yoga teacher knows how to handle students that come from different levels of dexterity and even those who have injuries. Even a tight joint is crucial information so your instructor can observe proper yoga injury prevention.
3. Don’t forget to have your rest days
Like exercise, yoga can tax your body. With this, you shouldn’t forget to take at least one rest day a week to allow your body to recuperate. Even gurus only practice yoga in a maximum of six days a week as they recognize the value of regaining muscle strength.
Burning your body out will cause too much wear and tear to the muscles. This will manifest as mild pains on the start. But once it accumulates, it will result in a bigger injury.
4. Always ask for pose variation or modification
Even Ashtanga that’s taught in a strict sequence and form has posture modifications. If you’re having a hard time nailing an asana, don’t shy away from asking about other variations or at least a modification on the posture. After you become comfortable on the variation, you can ask assistance to try the actual posture.
Your teacher will surely understand this yoga injury prevention, especially if you’re a newbie. This will help you a lot to prevent potential injuries most beginners encounter. Again, it’s about communicating with your yoga instructor.
5. Practice at your own pace
Led classes can cause competition and force you to push too hard to catch up. In Ashtanga, this is one of the reasons why Mysore is becoming popular. Students are allowed here to practice asana sequences at their own pace so everyone in the studio is practicing a different posture.
As a beginner, it’s easy to be frustrated with your progress. But if you have a teacher who believes in you, you won’t find it hard to level up your practice. Just take it easy for now.
6. If it doesn’t feel good, it’s headed to injury
This is a rule of thumb for many beginners. If you feel that the asana hurts more than it should, you should let your teacher know. This is so you won’t overexert your body’s ability. Trust your gut feeling and never hesitate to raise your concern.
If you’re self-practicing, it’s important that you feel your body every time you’ll attempt for an asana. This is important since you don’t have a teacher to tell you when you should stop.
7. Never lock your joints
Locked joints contain too much strain. If you hold it for long, it will hurt so bad not to mention the injury you’ll have to deal with afterward. This is one of the simplest yet hardest to observe rule in yoga. Doing Downward Facing Dog, for example, could be hard if you won’t lock those knees. But if you can’t avoid it, just bend it a little bit or ask a modification from the teacher.
Your joints are very important, as its condition will dictate how heavy your practice can be.
8. Know your body parts
It’s not enough that you memorize each asana by heart. You should also know which part of your body you’ll use for it to observe yoga injury prevention. This is so you’ll know which part to flex more or which one is already burned out. Knowing how your tissues, muscles, organs, and bones work will give you a deeper understanding of your practice.
As much as yogis are concerned, injuries happen because they don’t know what they’re stressing inside.
9. Don’t forget to meditate
Yogic thinking is one of the foundations of yoga. Without it, all you have is a body engaged in physical exercises. This will be no different than hitting the gym. If you want to reap all the benefits of yoga, you should meditate, practice proper yogic breathing, and incorporate it in your movements.
As you can observe, every shift of movement in Ashtanga is paired with breathing. This is so the blood will flow continuously. Such thing is important to avoid internal injuries.
10. Use a mat
This is one of the basics yet the most overlooked aspect. If you’re practicing sitting positions, it’s important that you use a mat to reduce skin injuries. Some yogis also got severe injuries because of sudden slips in the absence of mats. As much as you can, hit the mat and get the most useful one.
You can also use a mat if you’re practicing outdoors. Sticks and stones may actually break your bones, especially if they get in the way of your serious lifting.
Yoga injury prevention is important for every yogi. No one wants to have their practice to be put to a screeching halt due to a reckless move. So from now on, practice these simple precautions. With that, we will be glad to know about your safe yoga!