Preventing Injury During Practice: The most common areas for injury are in the knees, lumbar spine and neck. When movement in the major joints above and below these areas are inhibited, the body naturally recruits the next major muscle group/joint in the fascial line to facilitate the movement that the brain has directed. This law of compensation is what causes most injuries in physical movements- whether it is during exercise, or carrying out daily activities. Prevent unnecessary injuries in your practice by keeping the following tips in mind:
- Neck: be sure to keep your neck as relaxed as possible throughout your practice- even while you are using it. Try to strengthen your neck by engaging it without strain.
- Lumbar: keeping the core engaged is imperative for lumbar support and stability. This involves drawing your navel in and lifting your pelvic floor. This will provide considerable protection against compression or over stretching in your lumbar region.
- Knees: stay within your pain free range of motion and be mindful to keep you knees in the correct alignment. Ensure adequate support from both the hip and foot region.
Contraindications: make sure you’re not doing more harm than good by familiarising yourself with the following general health guidelines;
People with balance issues (such as those with sight hindrances, middle ear problems, MS, or any other disorder that may effect balance) must be extra cautious when practicing standing or inverted postures. Always have props such as chairs and yoga blocks handy, and practice poses near a wall where necessary.
Heart disease and high blood pressure: be careful not to over do it. It is advised that you do not take your heart lower than your hips. Also, avoid raising your arms above shoulder height during standing poses.
Varicose veins: Seated postures with intense knee bends should only be held for short amounts of time. Caution should be applied and if any sort of acute discomfort occurs, come out of the pose immediately.
Reasons to avoid forward bends: Hernia, spinal conditions (including disc problems), glaucoma, inner ear problems, sciatica, sacro-iliac conditions, recent abdominal surgery, or acute inflammation of any of the visceral organs.
Reasons to avoid backward bends: High blood pressure, angina, late pregnancy. Exercise extra caution if you have low back pain, arthritis, ulcers, or an exaggerated postural imbalance, such as scoliosis or kyphosis.
Reasons to avoid inversions: high blood pressure, any sort of heart condition, eye problems, severe osteoporosis, hernia, early menstruation, late pregnancy, obesity.
Reasons to avoid twists and side bends: late pregnancy, acute inflammation of any of the abdominal organs, recent abdominal surgery. Special care should be applied in the case or hernia and arthritis.