Yoga has been around for thousands of years and one of the reasons it continues to be popular is the array of benefits it offers to people of all ages and physical ability, from promoting physical and mental wellbeing to helping to offer gentle exercise that can improve flexibility and even reduce blood pressure.
Injuries can occur in yoga, whether this is from triggering an existing injury or through overuse, where you have stretched too far or incorrectly performed a pose which may have had an adverse effect.
What to do at the point of injury
If something doesn’t feel right then stop what you’re doing and rest. Sometimes pushing through the pain is not the sensible approach and goes against the principles of yoga in that it is designed to help build core strength rather than destroy it.
The RICE principle is a medically proven way of managing an injury in the first instance with rest, ice, compression and elevation.
Rest is important as it allows your body time to heal naturally.
Ice can be used to help manage any inflammation or swelling as well as offering pain relieving qualities.
Compression works similar to ice in helping to manage inflammation and normally comes in the form of a brace or support.
Elevation is important to reduce the blood flow to the affected area by raising it above the level of the heart, which in turn can reduce inflammation.
Getting back into yoga
Following an injury there is an inherent weakness, therefore you need to work on strengthening the affected region, which, in turn, will reduce the chances of you being sidelined with the same thing again. Yoga is a great way of achieving this providing you take it easy. Likewise physiotherapy and specific strength building exercises will be beneficial.
Once you’re fully rested then it’s time to get your yoga mat back out and start again. The trick is to know your limits and take your time. Don’t go straight into a crane or firefly pose but look at a mountain pose, downward dog or warrior. If you do too much too soon then you’re increasing the chance of further injury.
If you’re worried about a weakness in a specific joint i.e. wrist or ankle, then you might want to consider wearing a brace. They are designed to offer additional stability and even compression (to help manage swelling) for an affected joint whilst allowing you to remain mobile. As well as offering additional protection it can also give you the confidence to get back on the mat.
If you are ever unsure as to the severity of an injury then you should speak with a doctor or clinician for a complete and professional diagnosis.
If you’re concerned about the impact of your injury on your yoga then speak with your instructor who will let you know which moves you should focus on and which you should avoid.
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