Yoga, an ancient practice, is taking the country by storm and as a result, it has become a hot topic in the news. Now that there is a yoga studio on practically every corner, it’s more important than ever to remind yogis about the intensity of the postures.
Yoga is a discipline much like karate or ballet. The same way one would not walk into a ballet class on pointe shoes, one should not walk into a yoga class and expect they will be able to attempt a backbend, inversion, and especially a downward facing dog with straight legs and heels on the ground.
Having the wrong set of expectations and information, doing the practice from a place of Ego, or simply pushing your body too hard can cause pain and real damage. Some of the most common yoga injuries include: shoulder sprains, separation of the sacral-iliac ligament, hurt ribs, and compression of L4 and L5 vertebrae.
Separation of SI joint and lower back ligaments is probably one of the most common injuries in yoga and has nothing to do with being dangerous for your back. It has everything to do with misinformation. The most common pose being mis-cued is the downward facing dog. It is alas one of the most common poses and most frequently done.
The injury occurs from trying to do the pose with straight legs and forcing the heels to the ground, while having tight hamstrings, which most people have. I have even seen teachers and students try to shorten the distance between the hands and feet, in this posture, just to get the heels on the ground.
By simply bending your knees and allowing your heels to rise off the floor the injury is easily avoidable.
Shoulder Sprains or other shoulder injuries can result from muscling an arm balance pose; including downward facing dog. To the untrained eye, it seems that fancy, impressive arm balance poses, such as flying crow, require upper-body strength. However, like most characteristics of yoga, it is not as it appears.
Arm balance postures come from two main components, which take time to develop. One component is the ability to fold at the hip joint, to the point where your front ribs can touch your thighs; therefore closing the gap between upper and lower body when in a forward bend position. This position will enable the knees to position themselves in the armpits; which is where they belong in order to activate the second component of arm balance posture.
The second component is the ability to lift up on the internal floor of the pelvis in order to make…