The title can sound misleading to many. How can yoga cause injury? It’s supposed to do the opposite. Here are five ways to avoid yoga injury and open your path to healing!
Yoga injury? Well, it is true and not so true. Yoga asanas, when done right, can heal the worst of injuries – mentally and physically. The same asanas, when done out of too much excitement, poor breath, and carelessness or rush, can lead to injuries. Make sense?
I have been an Ashtanga yoga practitioner for almost a decade now. I have had days when I feel like a light feather doing asana’s like I didn’t even have a spinal cord. Then there are days or even months when I know I pushed myself way too much and faced the consequences for months. How do I go from one extreme to another? I don’t have a solution but here are few ways we can avoid being an injured yogi.
Focus on Yourself
It is so easy to keep watching others during your own practice. Sometimes it doesn’t mean you stop your practice to watch them. It means your ego clocks in and wants to do more and push yourself more. When you find yourself watching others or being distracted, I say take a few breaths and stop practicing. Bring the focus to yourself and check where you are at practice. You in a temporary moment of feeling competitive with your neighbor is not equal to the real you.
Your Body = Your Injury
We all know our bodies to a certain extent. Sure, there are many times in yoga where the teacher believes you can do better and may want to push you to do more. This is the time you need to be honest. If you already have pain or you are doing some other kind of physical activity- running, rock climbing, or you are simply stressed. It’s okay for you to say not today.
As much as you have a great teacher to encourage you to do better .You also have a life beyond the practice that you need to embrace and be true to. If your gut says this will strain you more, and you are not ready for it. Then so be it.
Yoga is a great way to heal your injuries, extend your spine, and improve flexibility and strength. But, it doesn’t mean you need to stop right there. Many of us, make the mistake of thinking self-care ends with yoga. No, it doesn’t. Being a yogi needs more maintenance than doing the practice itself.
It means you need to eat right, give yourself a massage once in a while to make sure there is no added stress on your muscle or knots, take a nice oil bath to remove body heat and injuries after practice and of course take a rest day. You have to spend the time and effort to maintain yourself mentally and physically to be able to practice regularly.
You have heard how what you eat or what you think affects your body. In the same way, your state of mind defines your yoga practice and the injuries that may be caused due to that. During practice, a lot of emotions may come up: feeling judgmental about yourself, sadness, anger, happiness, relief, and more.
But, if you do happen to give in to the feeling of fear or anger or sadness, how you do a particular asana can be dominated by that emotion and lead to injuries. Example: you could be really angry and do a backbend and push yourself and cause injury because you are beyond your element at that point. Keep check of your emotions and always try to focus on your breathing and keep your mind neutral during yoga.
It is all easier said than done.
But it can be done.