Problem Poses: When Yoga Causes Harm

You always hear how yoga is so good for you – both physically and mentally. It can be calming, as well as a really good workout. However, not everyone is convinced that yoga is a healthy option.

A recent New York Times article has yoga enthusiasts wondering if yoga is as good for them as they thought. The article, which was titled “How Yoga Can Wreck Your Body,” has proven quite controversial, sparking those for and those against yoga to speak out.

How Can Yoga Be Bad for You?

The reasoning behind the article makes sense when  you consider that many of those who take up yoga are doing it to “get healthy,” perhaps improve their back problems or sports injuries, or simply because they want to try something new and trendy.

The problem lies in that many of these people have never tried a yoga pose in their lives, or any other type of stretching exercise for that matter. What can end up happening in these cases, like with any other type of workout or activity, is that these people try to take on poses that they’re bodies haven’t been conditioned to handle. This, in turn, can lead to injury.

Just Because It’s Trendy Doesn’t Mean You Should Try It

Yoga is about much more than just standing or sitting in different poses. It’s about self-awareness, reflection, and technique. Given that just about anyone who is willing and able to teach yoga in the U.S. these days does just that, you can be certain that there are those teaching who haven’t bothered to learn the patience that goes into yoga. Accomplished yoga instructors have spent years spent mastering poses and conditioning their bodies to perform them. But less experienced instructors may rush their students through the poses the same way they rushed themselves while learning, which leads to bodies being twisted and strained into positions that they’re simply not ready for.

Anyone who lacks flexibility or has an injury needs to be cautious when attempting yoga poses. It’s not so much that yoga is bad for you, but rather that yoga isn’t for everyone. Certain poses, even those that have been said to work wonders on certain types of injuries, may in fact cause injury or make an existing injury worse when the person performs it incorrectly. Flexibility and correct posture and technique are key for someone who is looking to reap the health rewards that yoga has to offer. This requires time, patience, and practice—things that are not always stressed when taking just any yoga class.

The Verdict

There are dozens of medical journal reports that document the number and types of injuries reported as the result of yoga. And thus, the increase in those taking up yoga has bumped up the number of yoga-related injuries. Again, while the findings don’t exactly conclude that yoga is bad for you, they do make it very clear that there are some poses that should not be practiced in general yoga classes because of the risk they carry. Using caution when choosing an instructor and practicing poses is an absolute must, as is listening to your body.

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