Yoga’s a pretty straight forward, simple practice, right? It’s not dangerous like race car driving, whitewater rafting or bungee jumping. After all, there’s zero chance that during your yoga practice you’ll hit a wall at 191 miles per hour and burst into flames, capsize on slippery rocks and drown as you’re unceremoniously dragged upside-down by your ankle down river, or suffer massive cranial trauma after colliding head-first into concrete. It’s done in a very relaxed atmosphere, complete with soft lighting, aromatherapy and peaceful music. Nobody ever died from an intense yoga workout, I think.
However, there is growing concern that improper yoga practice could lead to unnecessary stress and strain to the body, resulting in injury. That is serious, as many people choose to do yoga because of its reputation for being low impact. Well, don’t worry. Eva Norlyk Smith, PhD has come up with five tips to practicing safe yoga and avoiding yoga injuries.
1) Adopt a beginner’s mind…Yoga’s not as easy as it looks. Definitely start out in a beginners’ class. Learn the basics. Build your knowledge. Take your time. Try to overachieve at being patient.
2) Learn to listen to your body…Let your body be your guide, not the teacher. If you feel like you can’t do a pose, or you can’t hold it, ease out of it. If you feel strain, relax. You’re probably pushing yourself too hard. Less is more.
3) Do your own pose, not your neighbor’s…If you look over and the person next to you has managed to work themselves into a seemingly impossible, unpronounceable, pretzel-like pose, good for them. You don’t have to do it, just because they can. Honor where your body is at right now. One day, someone else will be looking at your fabulous pose in sheer amazement.
4) Look for your intelligent edge…Find the sweet spot, like Goldilocks. You should feel a soothing stretch in your pose that is “just right”-where your muscles are working, without pain, strain or fatigue.
5) Pick the right teacher and approach…Yoga teachers have varying styles and approaches. Choose the one that’s right for you. Be picky. You may even want to start out with individual yoga sessions. If you have injuries or medical conditions, you definitely want an instructor who will work with you and be mindful of your needs.
Ultimately, Yoga is a gift you give yourself. It’s up to you to ensure the quality of that gift. If you follow the five steps listed above, you’re likely to achieve the benefits without the risks. Good health to you!
If you’re interested in creating a new you this Spring, consider making a commitment to partner with a Counselor of Life Coach. Begin your transformation by looking within yourself to find your core strengths and gifts. At Life Skills Resource Group in Orlando we’re ready to help you on this quest for renewal. Call us at 407-355-7378. Namaste.