Principles of Injury Prevention and Management

30 Jan



General Tips

  1. Be sure to warm up efficiently. This will lubricate your joints, increase blood circulation, and prepare the body for more strenuous poses.
  2. Start with milder posers, and progressively work your way into advanced poses.
  3. Ensure proper alignment in every yoga pose, enabling increased freedom of movement and balance. Through proper alignment, muscles and ligaments are strengthened on both sides of the active joint.
  4. Avoid hypertension. Bend knees slightly (or “secretly”) during standing poses. To avoid elbow injury, avoid „popping‟ elbows, and be sure to move gracefully into poses that require extensive arm support.
  5. Use helpful materials and props, such as blankets, blocks and belts. This takes stress off of joints, and helps to stretch and strengthen tight muscles.
  6. Encourage a non-competitive atmosphere, both within yourself, and with your students. Don‟t over-stress the body, and listen to your body for tell-tale signs of undue stress and tension.

Knee Problems-What to Avoid

  • Deep flexion – child‟s pose, virasana
  • Knee flexion with hip extension – sputa virasana
  • Hyper-extension – straight leg standing poses
  • Instability – vrksasana, ardha chandrasana, etc.
  • Twisting – guradasana, padmasana, virabhadrasana I
  • Pressure kneeling – cat, parighasana, kneeling lunges
  • Medial and lateral movement – sputa virasana, pigeon pose

Muscle Problems-What to Avoid

  • Over-stretching in seated, forward-bending poses (which can lead to a pulled hamstring)
  • Take special precautions when doing deep lunges (which can affect the hip flexors), unsupported shoulder stands (which can strain the neck), and seated and standing forward bends (which can affect the lower back, when the lumbar area is over-flexed).

Tips for Tendons

  • Take special caution when doing poses such as the downward facing dog, four-limbed staff pose, and the side plank, as these positions place particular stress on the shoulders, elbows and wrists. Be sure to develop adequate strength prior to spending extensive periods of time in these yoga poses.
  • Consider avoiding these poses altogether if you suffer from exacerbate carpel tunnel syndrome.

Ligaments and Cartilage

  • Avoid forcing feet onto thighs in lotus position before the hips are adequately flexible, as this may tear on pinch the meniscus.
  • Avoid pressing down too aggressively in downward facing dog, as this can damage shoulder cartilage.
  • In general, avoid hyperextension of elbows, as this can bring about inflammation of joints.

Spinal Disc

The most serious of yoga injuries include herniated disks and fractures. These are usually brought about when students or teachers push too hard during yoga classes. Take specific precaution with poses such as the plow, shoulder stand, and the seated or standing forward bend.


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