Afraid to try yoga because you are worried about getting injured?
Our Daily Dose blogger got tips from David Magone, a yoga instructor who teaches workshops at Exhale in Boston, on how to avoid common yoga mistakes. Next
Mistake #1: Practicing yoga every day
Yoga is a strength-building activity, Magone said, so you need to give your muscles a chance to recuperate and recover from those microtears that occur after every workout.
“I recommend doing yoga every other day and supplementing with a cardiovascular workout [running, biking, swimming] on days you don’t do yoga,” said Magone. “Otherwise your muscles will be exhausted and you’re likely to get sloppy and injure yourself.” Next
Mistake #2: Pushing too far too fast
Two weeks ago, I noticed that I can’t comfortably sit cross-legged on the floor to play board games with my kids, so I’ve been doing simple yoga hip stretches several times a week to try to regain some flexibility. While I’m tempted to force my legs into positions where they used to go easily, Magone tells me to go slowly.
“Never push to the point of pain—especially in your joints. lower back, or shoulders. It’s possible to get your flexibility back, but you need to go slowly and do the stretches three times a week,” he said. Next
Mistake #3: Not warming up properly
Under a time crunch, you may be tempted to skip some warm-up moves and go directly into a complicated posture, but that’s sure to increase your risk of injury.
“It takes a full 20 minutes to warm your body up to the point where it’s safe to go into those serious poses that require a deeper level of strength, balance, and flexiblity,” said Magone. A yoga class should involve getting your heart rate up with those initial simple poses—often sun salutations that begin from a standing position—that might get you a little sweaty. (High temperatures in hot Bikram yoga classes will also loosen muscles, but you still need to do warm-up moves, said Magone.) Next
Mistake #4: Not cooling down after workouts
Just like with any workout, a cool-down for about 10 to 15 minutes is vital to help your muscles recover and repair before your next workout. It will also help you avoid dizziness or fainting which can occur if too much blood pools in your legs during standing postures. Yoga classes should be designed to gradually increase to peak intensity before moving you back down to a resting energy level, said Magone. “Avoid instructors who don’t do this,” he added. Next
Mistake #5: Taking a yoga class to heal an injury
“I don’t recommend a large class,” said Magone, “if you have chronic pain from an injury,” to your knee, back, or hip. Instructors have too many clients to focus on without modifying every posture to suit your injury needs. He recommends going to a physical therapist with specific training in yoga to get rehabilitation postures to help strengthen muscles without further aggravating the injury. Back to the beginning
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