Are you just starting your Yoga journey? I am sure you will want to stay safe and avoid yoga injuries. Serious injury is very very rare in a yoga class but smaller aches, pains, and pulls can happen if you don’t practice safely. Here is a list of tip for beginners tips to avoid yoga injuries.
Are You Fit To Excercise?
Are you fit enough to undertake an exercise programme? Yoga Ladies suggest that you check with your doctor first. This applies especially if you have any limitations such as overweight, over 50 orhave an ilness or injury.
What injuries happen to beginners?
If you are careful and follow the tips below you should be perfectly safe. If you are careless though ( and this has been me too) then you can end up with aches and pains in the joints and muscles. The body can get overstretched, ligaments sprained and muscles strained. Don’t let this put you off, just follow these tips to stay safe.
Avoid Yoga Injuries.
Pick your class or teacher well
If you have never done yoga before then please do check if the class is suitable for you. I know teachers who will accept complete beginners into classes which have some quite advanced students. Whilst this is not uncommon I do suggest a complete beginner needs a beginners class. You want to learn from the ground up rather than jumping in at the deep end. If you are young and fit then you can thrive at the deep end but those of us who start later in life or who are not very strong may not avoid yoga injuries in a more advanced situation.
This applies to online classes too – only start with complete beginners videos.
Yoga usually starts with relaxation, breathing exercises and gentle mobilizations. These are important to get our bodies ready for the postures to come. Don’t be tempted to cheat or skip these stages. In real life classes you won’t have much choice but when practicing at home then it can be tempting to skip straight to the meat of the class. I’ve hurt my back more than once this way – Hopefully, I’ve learned this time.
You can always do a few warm-up exercises before pressing the play button or before leaving for the class. A brisk walk could help and I will soon post a few quick warm-up exercises for you.
Listen to your body
No pain, no pain, no pain. At any stage, you feel uncomfortable then stop. Yes feeling a stretch is good but you don’t want to work into pain at all. Remeber if you feel anything which isn’t good then Stop, Back off, Sit it out. Dropping into Childs Pose (see left)is always an option if you need a rest.
Listen to your teacher
A good teacher should show you the correct way to do a pose and talk you through the placement of your limbs. Try and follow what teacher says. I like to put my mat at the front of any class I attend until I get to know the teachers well. It’s not easy at first but unless your body starts to give out pain signals then teacher knows best.
Isn’t it easy to look at more advanced practitioners and try and copy them? The teacher may offer beginners and more advanced options. Just because the yogi on the mat next to you can bend forward and touch the floor with straight legs doesn’t mean that you need to. For the first few weeks at least stick with the beginners level until you know how your body feels after class. If you hurt yourself you are less likely to keep going and that would not be good.
Protect your back
- To minimise the chance of getting hurt then maintain a straight back, like the photo on the left. A rounded back like the photo on the right is not good.
- Pull the belly button in lightly towards the spine. I am talking gently here, just engaging your core a little.
- As you fold forward then push through your sternum. This helps to prevent your back from rounding.
- Only go as far as you can maintain a straight back.
- Remember forward bends are leg stretches not spine flexes
Protect your knees
Two quick tips :
- In standing postures with bent knees such as the Warrior poses then ensure the knee points over the toes in the same direction as the toes.
- Take care in cross-legged postures not to go further than you are ready for. Lotus hurts so don’t do it until your knees are happy with the movement. Accept this may never happen for you.
Protect your elbows
Some of us can bend our elbows back further than is good for them. From personal experience, I have learnt not to do this. Repeated bending further than straight will wear out the joint eventually. Keep a very tiny bend in your elbows is probably the best way to go.
At the end of a Yoga class, you will normally experience a few minutes of relaxation in a posture known as Savasana. This is there for a number of good reasons. Please don’t be tempted to skip out of a class at this stage. The relaxation gives your muscles and joints the chance to return to their normal everyday state. I’ve heard this as “allowing the work to sink in”. Either way, it helps out bodies transition from Yoga.
Take it slowly especially if you are unfit to start with. It’s important to practice regularly ( any chance of 3 times a week ?) and your body will soon change. Wait for it though, forcing the chance will not help to avoid yoga injuries. Some changes will happen in the short term, some will happen over years and some will not happen at all. This just depends on your own individual body. Enjoy.
How about you?
As I write this article my back aches. It’s my own fault, I didn’t practice some of the tips above. I went straight into following a yoga class online and when it didn’t warm me up properly I should have pressed the pause button, warmed up and then finished the original class. How about you? Have you had self-inflicted yoga injuries? Do pop a comment below and let us know how you could have avoided it. Or come and join Yoga Ladies on facebook.