5 things to Remember to Practice Safe Yoga and Avoid Injuries
Yoga is relatively a safe fitness practice like Golf in the sports. But to be on the safer zone you should follow some rules that will help you avoid undesirable things like injuries
Adopt a Beginner’s Mind
You wouldn’t go into an advanced ballet or kickboxing class without working your way up through the basics first. Yoga may look comparatively more simple, but it’s not. Start with a series of yoga classes targeting beginners, which introduces you to the basics in a systematic way. Not all studios offer intro courses for beginners, so look around. Make sure you build a solid foundation of knowledge of alignment before you try your hand at more challenging classes like a rigorous Vinyasa flow class or a hot yoga class.
Learn to Listen to Your Body
In any yoga class, your body, not the teacher, is the real guide to what is best for you. Listening to your body and honoring its signals is key to a safe practice. If something doesn’t feel right, ease out of the pose. If something feels like a strain, you’re pushing too hard. If your body feels like it needs a break, relax back in child’s pose.
Do Your Own Pose, Not Your Neighbor’s
For most of us, the mind tends to overrule the body. So if the person next to you gets her face all the way down to her shins in Paschimottasana (seated forward bend), by golly, you’re gonna get there too, no matter how much your hamstrings howl. However, yoga at its essence is about getting in tune with your body. The only right way to practice a pose is to practice it in the way that honors where your body is at, and not trying to force yourself into your neighbor’s pose.
Look For Your Intelligent Edge
Look for the sweet spot in every pose. That is where you are challenging the body and yourself, but still staying completely within your comfort zone. Your intelligent edge is that place in the posture where you are feeling a soothing stretch and your muscles are working, but there is no pain, strain or fatigue.
Pick The Right Teacher And Approach
When it comes to practicing and teaching yoga, it’s not a one size fits all. Yoga teachers vary in approach, style, experience and training. If you’re young and fit, you will be able to handle a wide range of yoga styles and classes. On the other hand, if you’re a 50+ year old male with super tight hamstrings just starting out, it may be better to start with individual yoga sessions with an experienced teacher. The same thing applies if you have any injuries or physical limitations you’re working with. Let your teacher know before the class, and don’t be shy to ask if the class will still be suitable for you. If the teacher isn’t able to offer specific feedback related to your condition, that’s a good indication the teacher might not a good fit for you.