Yoga is becoming more popular in today’s society, and many people have turned to the technique to help stay in shape and improve their flexibility. Because it’s not viewed as an activity that is as outwardly physical as other activities like running or basketball, sometimes it’s easy to overlook the ways that it can put you at risk for injury. In fact, back injuries are one of the most common injuries among novice and expert yoga enthusiasts. In today’s blog, we take a closer look at how you can protect your spine from injury while you’re working to become healthier through yoga.
Protecting Your Back During Yoga Sessions
Here’s how you can prevent a yoga session from causing more harm than good for your spine.
- Always Warm Up – Although yoga may seem like an activity full of stretches, it’s not something that you should just jump into without first warming up. Your body needs time to help muscles and joints transition from a passive state to an active state, so you need to help them with this transition by easing into activity. Many classes have some sort of warm up period, but make sure you do some stretches on your own to help prepare your spine and your whole body for activity.
- Stay Within Your Limits – This is a little bit easier said than done, because yoga is about pushing your body to new limits through flexibility improvements. That said, you need to slowly develop these range of motion increases over an extended period of time. If you try to do too advanced of moves, you can really end up messing with your spine. Stay within your limits and slowly work your way up to more difficult moves.
- Regulate Your Breathing – If your breathing isn’t normal, your movement patterns won’t be normal. Deep and full breathing helps your body stabilize the spine so that it can perform optimally. Breathing techniques are taught during yoga, but your breathing can become unregulated during difficult maneuvers, so really work to keep healthy breathing patterns throughout your yoga session.
- Mind Your Forward Bends – You put an immense amount of pressure on your lumbar spine when you bend forward, which is sometimes asked during certain yoga poses. Don’t bend too far forward or push yourself beyond what’s comfortable when you’re doing these forward leans. Make sure you’re bending your knees and keeping your hamstrings loose to help with some of these forward bends.
If you can do all four of these things, we’re confident that you’ll be giving your body a great chance of harnessing the full benefits of yoga without increasing your injury risk. But if something goes wrong and you start to develop pain in your back, make sure you reach out to a spine specialist sooner rather than later. For help with your yoga-related back pain, or for spine discomfort in general, reach out to Dr. Sinicropi and his talented team of medical specialists today.