Here’s the truth about yoga injuries
If you love yoga, you probably practice because it makes that tightness in your neck go away, loosens up your lower back and makes your limbs feel longer and looser. But like any other type of activity or sport — injuries can happen.
A 2008 study out of Finland found that, among 300 yoga studios regulars surveyed, there were 1.18 injuries for every 1,000 hours of practice. And in a 2012 survey of 2,500 practitioners in Australia, 2.4 percent had a yoga-caused injury over the previous year.
Those are low rates, for certain, but bumps, bruises, sprains and worse do happen. “Fortunately, most of these injuries are not serous, and they are preventable,” says Dr. Raza Awan, a sports medicine doctor whose Toronto clinic, Synergy Sports Medicine & Rehabilitation, has designed an injury prevention program to train yoga teachers.
How to stay safe?
First step in avoiding pain: stop trying to be great at yoga. “The number one cause of injuries is the ego,” says Awan. Avoid looking around the room to see if you’re acing the pose compared to others. When you push your body into a new pose and it hurts, stop. Read class descriptions and, if you’re new, you don’t join an advanced class.
Other yoga injuries occur due to overuse of the muscles involved. So take it easy on retreats, during a 30-day yoga challenge or when you suddenly go from doing one class a week to four. (On a budget? Here are 4 tips for practicing yoga at home.)
So what exactly can get injured during yoga? Read on to find out the five most common injuries and what you can do to prevent them.