Understanding And Preventing Five Common Yoga Injuries


While yoga is an incredibly productive and safe activity, recent evidence suggests that the injury rate is higher than previously believed. About 10 percent of regular practitioners reported some degree of significant musculoskeletal pain, chiefly in their shoulders and arms. Furthermore, if the practitioner has a previous injury, even a latent or minor one, the odds of experiencing such discomfort again increase considerably.

Most of these injuries are minor and preventable, so the risk should not keep you from experiencing all the benefits of yoga, from increased strength and flexibility to a calmer mind and spirit.


Rotator Cuff Issues


Especially among overweight people over 40, rotator cuff tears are the most common types of shoulder injuries. This area degenerates with age, so the strain that some poses place on the arms and shoulders could be too much for this joint to handle. Most people who sustain rotator cuff injuries experience a generalized pain in the upper arm, weakness in the shoulder, limited range of motion, and perhaps a popping or cracking sound.

Stretches and strengthening exercises are the best way to prevent this injury. People who are at risk for a rotator cuff tear may consider wearing a lightweight brace during yoga and/or limiting the number of poses that involve unusual arm bends.


Lower Back Issues


Waist bends are sometimes hard on discs, particularly if the legs are too rigid and the practitioner rounds the back. If the spine develops even a hairline crack, the disc (rubbery cushion inside the spine) may leak out, causing pressure on the nerve and intense pain that sometimes radiates down the legs.

Your hip is a natural hinge joint, so use it. The hip can handle both the weight and the motion. Moreover, keep alcohol consumption to a minimum because evidence connects alcohol with disc issues, possibly due to dehydration.


Hamstring Injuries


Never try to overcompensate in these poses by using your hamstrings more than your back. That position often irritates the hamstring muscles nearest the buttocks. So, when you go into a dive, move from the hips and avoid overly stretching the hamstrings.


Knee Tears


Knee injuries are among the most common fitness injuries, because even in a low-impact workout like yoga, the knee often takes a lot of punishment. Many yoga poses, such as the pigeon, are especially hard on knees. Essentially, the overworked tendons flare up and cause localized pain. These muscle tears aren’t serious as long as they are treated properly, usually with rest and ice.

To avoid these injuries, never skip the preliminary poses. Get your mind and body in gear before attempting something complicated, even if you are a yoga veteran. That’s especially true if you have any pre-existing knee injuries.


Wrist Strains


The downward dog is a staple of many yoga ads and yoga classes, but this pose creates a high risk of wrist injury, especially if you have carpal tunnel syndrome. Since there is so much weight on the wrists in this pose, if posture and position is off even a little, that could be more than the muscles can take.

During the pose, spread your fingers evenly. Furthermore, dig both your index finger and the back of your hand into the yoga mat. Finally, elevate the wrist as much as possible. Try using a rolled-up towel to keep your wrists a little higher.

Yoga injury may be more of a threat than previously believed, but with some simple preventative steps, the risk should not affect your workout routine.