Yogis love to do yoga. A lot. Whether you’ve been practicing for years or you’re just starting a regular yoga regimen, moderation is key. In fact, if you REALLY want to study yoga, you’ll practice moderation as a way of life. Bramacharya, the fourth yama, is about practicing moderation in all things, which completely undermines our usual way of being in a western society. Living in brahmacharya means we have control over our impulses of excess, which even includes our yoga practice.
Despite our best efforts to avoid injury, we often become injured from our best efforts. Muscle strains and joint injuries to shoulders and knees are common, but they don’t have to be. Here are a few tips from the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons on how to avoid injury from the get go.
- If you have any medical conditions or injuries, speak to your doctor before participating in yoga.
- Work with a qualified yoga instructor. Ask about his or her experience and credentials.
- Discuss any known illness or injury with your yoga instructor prior to the class so that he or she can recommend pose modifications.
- Learn what type of yoga you are performing. There are hundreds of different forms of yoga, some more strenuous than others. It is important to learn which type of yoga will best suit your needs.
- Select the class level that is appropriate for you. Beginners should start slowly and learn the basics first — such as breathing — rather than trying to stretch too far.
- Wear appropriate clothing that allows for proper movement.
- Warm up thoroughly before a yoga session — cold muscles, tendons , and ligaments are vulnerable to injury.
- If you are unsure of a pose or movement, ask questions.
- Know your limits. Do not try positions beyond your experience or comfort level.
- Keep hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids, especially if participating in Bikram or ” hot ” yoga.
- Listen to your body. If you are experiencing pain or exhaustion while participating in yoga, stop or take a break. If pain persists, talk to your doctor.
The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) believes the rewards of basic yoga outweigh the potential physical risks, as long as (with all exercise) you take caution and perform the exercises in moderation, according to your individual flexibility level.
I’ll repeat my friend Sean Tebor again, “you’ll get there faster if you go slower.” Seriously. If you take yourself out because you just had to get into scorpion pose on the first try, you sacrifice much more than your pride.
If the concept of moderation in living is too abstract, put it into practice as a means of saving yourself from unnecessary injury. Don’t end up head over asana.
This has been your PSA – Public Salamba Announcement. Be well.
– Your Charmed Yogi
Photo credit: SheKnows Health & Wellness