Saturday, July 10, 2010

Yoga injuries

Yoga injuries, a series topic today. It exists, less than in other "sports", but as I see it, I couldn't avoid these injuries 100%.

What injuries did I have in the last 7 year (7 years I practice Ashtanga yoga):
1. My hamstrings were overstretched. It depends where it hurts, it can take months till it's healed. It happened while practicing these deep forward bending asanas like supta kurmasana. This is the only injury that I had several times  during these 7 years.
2. Once I fell (D from M, please don't read point 2) when I practiced sirsasana (headstand). This wouldn't have caused any injury if not the corner of my wall was in my way. I got a bruise on my thigh.
3. Once I pulled my right lower back while practicing eka pada sirsasana (leg behind the head).
4. When I started with second series my pectoral muscles hurt. Were they overstretched or simply sore? I don't know, but it hurt and pain is always a sign that something is injured.

No, this is not much. I listed really everything.

Five situations, that make injuries more likely than others, so take care then:
1. after a long break
2. when learning new asanas
3. during workshops
4. when feeling especially ambitious
5. in cold rooms

Three tips what to do when it's too late, when injured?
1. My experience is: it's good to practice, but with more care. To practice around the injury is good. It shall not hurt (not too much). Deep breathing and being patient, I recommend.
2. A hot bath is always good.
3. Find out by yourself what is best for you. Yoga is also to get to know your body.

Nine tips how to practice in order to avoid injuries?
1. to practice with awareness
2. to respect the limits of the body at a given time
3. to engage the muscles when stretching. This point is very important.
4. Doing the correct order of asanas: Surya namaskaras first to warm up the body. Practicing a counter pose after an asana (it's the vinyasa in Asthanga yoga). Twist poses first when practicing back bending after forward bending asanas (or the other way round).
5. Observing the breath. When a yogini/yogi stops breathing the limit is probably reached.
6. to remember that practicing Asthanga yoga is meditation, not acrobatic.
7. to develop a relaxed attitude is helpful, too. To enjoy the practice, to take it easy, to accept what is, is it.
8. Humor, to develop a bit of humor when the valleys happen is good and not to fight against it with even more ambition.
9. to heat the room where you practice.
Wow, what a list.

Asanas, I developed deep respect:
All these asanas with one or two legs behind the head: supta kurmasana, eka pada sirsasana, dwi pada sirsasana, yoga nidrasana.

Injuries remind me to practice with care and awareness.
It reminds me to be patient and to accept the limits at a given moment.

Injuries heal and 99% of the time, it's only the stiffness that is felt from time to time that drives me crazy.....:)

Next time I want to write about yoga as a method to heal, to become healthy.

Developing a personal practice:


Anonymous said...

Excellent blogpost Ursula! I trust your words greatly and appreciate your wisdom. A committed daily practice is my desire and you inspire me to do that. I, too, have experienced slight injuries from time to time. What I am learning is that for me open hips are a necessity to avoiding lower back pain, injury. Question, what do you practice to open your hips?

Ursula said...

Thank you so much Debb.
Please give me a bit of time. You just gave me 2 wonderful topics: discipline and hip opening.

I fear it is too long what I wish to write as a comment. I'll write about it in several posts.

Happy practices.

Peaceloveyoga said...

Yes. Very good post. Thank you. :)

Barabara said...

How much is too much in Yoga? For people who are just starting Yoga, that's difficult to answer. Unfortunately many Yoga trainers too are not well qualified to answer that or just don't care about it. Result- Yoga injury. Have you or a friend ever faced Yoga injury? What were the reasons? Do you have any suggestions for other Yoga practitioners? Come at Yoga for Beginners at and let others hear your story.