Yoga is a popular form of exercise and stress reduction for many. While Yoga is perceived by most people as a health promoting way to improve flexibility, strength, mobility, and stability, an increasing number of people in Yoga classes are still prone to injury.
Many people force their bodies into shapes without awareness of the posture and alignment. That is because of the inherent flexibility requirement, wherein, they should keep their body from overstretching.
As a result, they start to nurture one sided soreness or pain that is often dismissed as a “good” stretch from Yoga class. But such micro tears over time can result in irreversible damage to the body that is detrimental to the overall well being.
The True Goal of Yoga
The points of a Yoga practice is to tune inward and to focus on the “energy” locks called the Bandhas. It is also important to minimize the strain and sprain to the body. Also, to keep the body from leaking positive energy because it keeps the joints of the body to be aligned and stay in a locked in position.
Connecting the breath to the movement allows one to experience peace within the focus on the third eye. Keeping the focus within oneself to direct the internal practice also helps in achieving mind-body connection.
The practice of Yoga if done correctly cultivates mind-body awareness on oneself with increasing love for oneself. It also promotes authentic alignment with the higher self to elevate consciousness.
Cherish Your Own Journey
While Yoga can be a challenging physical practice, it extends beyond the physical realm. It also taps into the different aspect layers of the human experience.
There are many Yogis who practice mainly for physical challenge and have lofty goals of “contorting” the body into shapes as a tangible goal to reach. While such goals are great, it is also important to keep in mind that every body is different. Anatomical structure and genetic predisposition are predetermined. As a result for some, such shapes are easy and effortless to achieve. While for others, it’s next to impossible to have freedom of movement in certain joints and muscles to achieve the final expression of the pose.
The pursuit of the goal is much more important than the final destination when it comes to Yoga. The journey should provide increased mind-body awareness to get “connected” to the body. Also, to respond wisely to the neurological signals that the body is sending at all times.
Poses Can Also Lead to Injury
Neurological signals may be numbness, tingling, stretching, soreness, discomfort, and pain that keeps the body from overstretching. The key is to know the difference between a healthy signal to an unhealthy signal that you need to tune into.
The truth is that most Yoga teachers lack in-depth knowledge about human anatomy and how it’s designed to move. The laws of physics apply to human movement, especially angles and force vectors commonly studied in geometry. While allowing certain posters in Yoga, there must be full body balance between the left and right without compensatory movement patterns to prevent unnecessary wear and tear.
Know Your Body
For example, we know it too well when it comes to the tires of our cars. However, we often overlook the importance of our own body. We know how to rotate the tires every 5000 miles and keep the tires wearing down at the same pace. But for our own body, we miss the side to side discrepancy and compensatory movement patterns.
Our bodies are designed to mask such discrepancies by balancing and compensating. However, such compensatory movement patterns can result in uneven wear and tear. It can create side to side differences that can lead to one sided injury which further exacerbates the patterns.
Be A Responsible Teacher
Due to the sedentary lifestyle today, many people struggle with poor posture and alignment. There are individuals who frequently go to Yoga studios or practice Yoga while being dependent on the teachers. They give more responsibility to Yoga teachers who can correct and fix the malalignment patterns in the body. Many people are relying upon their Yoga teachers to teach them the correct patterns to improve the side to side discrepancy while improving stability, flexibility, strength, and alignment.
Knowing that most people rely on YOU, how do you improve your Yoga practice and teaching? Take the time to understand, study, and apply the anatomical principles in Yoga.
On The Spot Tips to Avoid Injury During Yoga Practices
To provide you with the tangible things to implement, I want to teach you three things you can apply right away to improve awareness and prevent unnecessary injury to the body:
1. Proper Muscle Activation
When engaged in downward dog or in standing postures, learn to engage the arm muscles by spiraling the biceps forward with the triceps back while keeping a slight bend in the knee. That is to activate the triceps and the biceps. Also remember to constantly push the floor away to engage all the shoulder girdle muscles as well as the spinal muscles to keep the shoulders from collapsing. You should also do this with your thighs, hamstrings, gluteal activation and hip flexors in any given pose.
2. Core Engagement
Proper core engagement keeps the back from collapsing when doing back bends. I see a lot of Instagram photos of ridiculously beautiful people who can go into all kinds of back bends and such. But I noticed a lot of rib flares without core engagement. They are just using their flexibility to contort their bodies into poses which may be okay for a couple of times. But overtime, it can create unnecessary micro terrors and repetitive injury in different areas of the body. When this happens to any part of the joints, irreversible damage may happen. This can be neurogenic in nature, which means you will only have limited ability to control that segment or muscle through your nerves.
Therefore, instead of just sucking your tummy, try to engage to your core by drawing the navel to the spine. Next, thread the rib cages down, and sit up nice and tall. These things can contribute in practicing safe Yoga.
3. Understand Proper Posture and Alignment
Remember not to allow compensatory mechanisms to be okay. For the sake of a safe Yoga practice, fix it as much as possible. If you are having a hard time doing so, go to a good class with a good teacher. Be taught by someone who can help you understand the importance of proper posture and alignment. In this way, you will have a profound experience and can possibly extend the practice to others if you’re a Yoga teacher, physician or a health practitioner who wants to assist your patients in their healing journey. It’s a great way to have that kind of interaction while showcasing your knowledge.
I hope this was helpful. I will link the bibliography of the studies I cited below so you can have your time reading more about the injury caused in Yoga classes.
Also, I want to invite you to FREE Training Session to know more about the Functional Breakthrough Formula. Wherein, I will share more about proper posture and alignment that you can apply in your daily practice to upgrade your impact in the lives that you serve. CLICK HERE to sign up today!
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Thank you so much for taking the time to read this blog! Bye for now!