Yoga: How To Prevent Injuries (Part 1)

This is me showing off a headstand in my old apartment a few years ago. I can do even better now and you can, too
This is me showing off a headstand in my old apartment a few years ago. I can do even better now and you can, too

When it comes to yoga, no one thinks of the injuries that may occur from practicing. No, not from over-practicing, but from not practicing it the right way. Maybe it is best to say it this way, over-stretching and bearing weight on wrong parts of the body can lead to unpleasant pain and chronic injuries.

One of the most important things you can do to prevent physical injuries is to know your body. What I mean is to learn your physical limits. The key is to build up strength gradually by paying attention to your strengths and weaknesses.

For example, I see people over-exerting and relying solely on momentum when trying for a handstand. This would only cause you to fall back down immediately at the risk of hurting your knees and ankles. Instead of forcing up to a full handstand, stay in a forward bend and shift more weight onto your hands while engaging your belly muscles. Then, gradually your torso and hips become more vertical as oppose to rounding. A perfect handstand won’t happen just on the first few tries, in fact, it may take weeks or months, even years. The point of yoga is to improve little by little without rushing.

Foundation yoga poses

Let’s try another approach. Not surprisingly, I am going to suggest using mind and body. What a cliché, everyone says that. Yes, but there are nuances that most people forget to consider. It goes beyond just focusing the mind, it is also about controlling your body when it wants to fidget restlessly.

I don’t agree when some complain that their bodies are not made to do yoga, or that flexible people benefit from it more. There isn’t just one body type best suited for practice, it is a matter of learning how to make self-adjustments, and make the practice yours.

One of the most important things you can do to prevent physical injuries is to know your body. What I mean is pay attention to your physical limits. The key is to build up strength gradually.

There are lots of foundation poses, specially the basic ones that actually help with strengthening and alignment more than advance ones. To master the basics, one must learn to slow down and not get ahead of oneself with impatience. When holding one pose for an extended amount of time forces you to pay attention to what is going on with your body. I have been practicing yoga for more than 15 years, and there are still lots to improve just when I think I’ve got it down.

Yoga is a rewarding experience both on and off the mat. (Likewise, in life when I think I’ve learned enough to get through difficult times, something else comes along to show me that I need to know more.)

If you have a specific pose that you would like me to discuss, or if you’d want information about good yoga studios, comment or contact me.

Also, if you are thinking about some fashionable yoga wears, and what types of essential oils are good for healing injuries, I have some suggestions.

Miriam Wolf doing yoga
This is my long-time yoga teacher Miriam Wolf. She has been a dancer all her life and is incredibly knowledgeable about the body. She’s taught me a lot of good stuff over the years.

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