Asana without injury: How to make Yoga safe

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Yoga is a training of mind and body using a combination of different techniques. Performing special exercises (asanas) has a positive effect on the body – they are suitable both for the prevention and treatment of various pathologies, as well as for the search for inner harmony and spiritual self-improvement. The effect of yoga on the body is already quite well studied. Of course, damage to the ligaments or arthrosis is impossible to cure, but there is still a positive effect in the treatment of certain functional disorders, such as back and joint pain, depression.

However, a person can get injured while doing yoga. Thus, according to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission, more than 7,000 pathologies associated with yoga are registered. The most frequent are injuries of the large joints and ligaments of the spine. The fact is that when performing certain exercises on the joints there is a non-physiological load. Positions with long stops on the arms, excessive axial body rotation, and headstands can harm even a healthy person in excellent physical shape, not to mention people with existing pathologies. In the “plow” or “candle” position, for example, the angle between the neck and torso tends to 90 degrees – this leads to a significant load on the spine in the cervicothoracic transition.

The same can be said about the various variants of the head posts, in which a serious load falls on the cervical vertebrae, nerve structures, intervertebral discs, and vertebral arteries. They are simply not adapted to such a load. In addition, the upside-down position can adversely affect the well-being of people prone to increased intracranial pressure or glaucoma sufferers. If such loads are directed to the spine, already affected by a particular pathology, the likelihood of complications will increase many times. Another insidious circumstance: the structures near the spinal cord, oddly enough, do not have a rich network of sensitive receptors. That is, the signal of excessive load does not come immediately, which, in turn, also leads to damage.

– Any injury requires rest and sometimes immobilization. In case of cervical trauma, it is not difficult to make something like a Schantz collar from scrap materials and to give a neutral position to the head and neck (if this position is painless). A cold object can be attached to the injured area through the fabric. This will ease the pain and possibly reduce the swelling.

Signs that you’re doing something wrong

The first and main symptom of an irregular load is pain. The stretching of the muscles may be moderate pain, but they should not be excessive. Sign of moderate pain: you can distract from it. The pain that persists after exercise is a bad sign.

Changing well-being. For example, some postures may lead to changes in intra-abdominal pressure and respiratory failure.

Exercises do not bring satisfaction. After physical exertion, you should feel calm and relaxed. If you are exhausted and in a bad mood, you may be doing something wrong.

During classes, one should take into account the natural range of movement of each joint. Not all people have the potential ability to stretch the same. In addition, sometimes there are anatomical reasons for limiting movements in the joints (dysplasia) – the shape of the articular surfaces is changed and high-amplitude movements lead to the impact of structures not intended for this. Attempting to stretch such a joint will result in damage and subsequent problems.

It is also necessary to take into account age: the joints and the ligament apparatus of an adult are not capable of either amplitudes or serious loads. But here, as well as in sports, a lot depends on the instructor, his experience, and knowledge. In the presence of injuries, diseases of the musculoskeletal system, or any other somatic pathology, it is important to consult with a competent specialist and discuss the necessary restrictions in the exercise regime. Classes under the guidance of an experienced instructor will minimize the chance of injury.

Basic rules of yoga

  • do not practice yoga without consulting a doctor (especially for people who have cardiovascular pathologies, diseases, and injuries of the musculoskeletal system);
  • during yoga classes, you should not feel pain. The only sensations are fatigue and a feeling of stretching the muscles. Pain in the joints and muscles from stretching is unacceptable;
  • you can not start training without warming up – you need to warm up the muscles;
  • for a beginner, asanas are undesirable with a load on the head and neck;
  • during exercise, breathing should be free. The combination of tension and breath-holding is unacceptable.

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