Yoga has shown us that flexibility provides great advantages for our bone and muscle health, circulation, strength, and well-being. However healthy it may be to regularly exercise, stretching inappropriately may cause serious pain or injury. If you have to lie down or visit a chiropractor every time you participate in a yoga class, you may be making some crucial mistakes. Whether you’re a beginner or an expert yogi, avoid making these common stretching mistakes:
Stretching Cold Muscles
Unless you’ve stepped into a hot yoga class, you’ll likely be starting your stretches cold. Typically, your yoga instructor will guide you through easy movements in the beginning to get your muscles warmed up and ready to go into deeper stretches. However, if you’ve decided to start working out at home, you may be more prone to missing those crucial steps. While breathing and “holding” poses may seem unnecessary (especially if you use yoga to burn calories), it’s extremely important to practice those poses in order. Cold muscles are like rubber bands that have been left outside in winter. They are prone to snap and break rather than bend. To prevent injury, it’s vital to warm up your body first.
Practicing Advanced Moves as a Beginner
You’ll know the moment you hyperextend your lower back because it will be accompanied by a bolt of pain, followed by days of discomfort. Hyperextension can result from over stretching your lower back during exercise, especially an exercise that is considered advanced. The backbend is a common yoga pose, however, if your spine is not used to such hyperextension, it could result in injury. You get points for enthusiasm, but you aren’t doing yourself any favours by jumping ahead of your level. Here are advanced yoga poses to avoid if you’re a beginner or if you already have a pre-existing back pain:
- Cobra pose
- Camel pose
- Bow pose
- Feathered peacock pose
- Standing forward bend
Not Working into the Stretch
Yoga is generally practiced as a seamless dance that lets us move our bodies in one fluid motion. It is not a start-and-stop exercise routine. Flowing into the stretch or pose may prevent a back injury. Take your time moving into the position rather than making sudden movements. Many yoga poses require complete concentration, so if you’re not focusing on your practice, you might make a painful mistake. If you find yourself too distracted, consider spending more time in a meditative asana, like the lotus position.
Not Balancing Your Poses
If you think of your body as a twist-tie that bends in one direction, it requires a bend in the other direction to become straight again. This is the same concept as spinal stretches. Stretching too much in one direction can lead to spinal pain. A backward bend should always be closely followed by a forward bend so that your spine is equally stretched in both directions. However, spinal decompression poses may not be enough to help you with chronic back pain. Please consult your Kelowna chiropractic clinic if you have severe intervertebral disc pathology.
Not Listening to Your Body
Yogis and fitness celebrities make yoga look so easy. Their flawless execution and seamless movements are what we impatiently aspire to achieve. However, it’s time to take a step back and realize our own limitations. If you’re new to the practice, remember to be patient and go slow, otherwise, you may end up sabotaging your fitness goals. If you’re ever in a pose that hurts, stop. Pain is a very smart indicator that something is wrong. To ignore the pain your body feels is to ignore a warning sign…something you may regret later.
Yoga has been practiced for thousands of years and has helped millions of people become stronger and more in tune with their bodies. If, however, your yoga practice is causing back pain, you may have a pre-existing condition that requires chiropractic care. Book your appointment with Symtrio Chiropractic today or contact us for more information.