Yoga has become such a popular practice in the United States, and for good reason – did you know that yoga can increase your flexibility, improve your muscle strength and tone, improve your respiration and energy, assist with weight loss, improve your cardio health, help your body better protect itself from injuries, and much more?! Yoga is more than getting comfy in yoga pants (although who doesn’t love those?) – it’s also about finding connection between your mind, body, and spirit. If you’re relatively new to yoga, this is an amazing journey you’re about to embark on. As with any worthwhile journey, however, you want to be sure that you understand the basics of safety so that you can prevent yourself from any injuries while you’re practicing.
According to a 2016 study published in the Orthopaedic Journal of Sports Medicine, approximately 29,590 yoga-related injuries were found in hospital emergency rooms between 2001-2014; most of these injuries were related to populations aged 65 years of age and older, but the fact still remains: no matter who you are, safety is a necessity. Take into consideration the following 5 ways that you could injure yourself doing this practice, and watch out for them:
- Not stretching first. Many people think of yoga as a gentle stretching activity, which can certainly set a person up for injury either during or after yoga. Be sure to stretch so that your muscles are prepped for some of the intense positions that you may use.
- Not modifying your poses. If you’re new to the practice, the poses may seem easy – if you’re trying to mimic your instructor or other more experienced classmates, you could hurt yourself, however. Yoga poses are more challenging than they look, and it takes a lot of time to build up to the most intense ones.
- Ignoring the relaxing period after yoga. It’s easy to feel as though you can skip it – if you’re ready to go home, cook a meal, see your kids or do something else you have planned, the after-yoga cool down may seem like your best bet. Missing this, however, could mean that you lose vital ability to ease your body after the work you’ve just put it through – which means pain later.
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