Dr. Robin Armstrong: Avoid The Top 3 Yoga Injuries
The diverse girls and guys in the yoga community have many things in common: a respect for the earth and those around us, an appreciation for inner calm and a quiet spirit, and a love of clothing that doesn’t get in the way when we stand on our heads. Then there are the not-so-good things we share – our injuries. Lucky for us, we can prevent them.
Top 3 Yoga Injuries And How to Avoid Them
1 Yogi Butt Although this might sound appealing initially (picture Madonna in your favorite skinny jeans), as an injury it’s best avoided. Yogi Butt is actually small tears of the hamstring that attaches at the sitting bone. With overstretching in forward bends, little tears can develop and start to cause a nagging pain in the butt – literally and figuratively.
Try This: To avoid this injury, before moving into forward bends, gently draw your lower belly in and up to stabilize your core and tilt your pelvis downwards at the sitting bones. Always keep a micro-bend in your knees to take strain off the hamstrings, and to support the knee joint.
2 Yogi Shoulder The local swim clubs might argue they claimed this one first—a.k.a Swimmers Shoulder or Shoulder Impingement – but yogis can also experience this shoulder problem. Aching or sharp pain can result when we close down the space at the front of our shoulder. Often this injury shows itself in a Vinyasa-style practice, with lots of chaturanga/push- up poses. You can avoid it by creating space at the front of the shoulder.
Try This: Practice by standing with the elbows bent by your side, wrists flexed like you are in a push up. Round your shoulders forward and see how the space between your arm bone and your collar bone closes. Now open your shoulders so that the shoulder blades slide down the back, the tops of the arm bones move up and back and you can see more space at the front of your shoulder. Notice what you had to do in your body to create this space. Now take it to your mat!
3 Yogi Knee This injury is a simple one to avoid if you understand how the knee works. Basically your knee moves like a door – hinging open and closed. Try to force your door to twist and you break it off at its hinges. Try to force your knee to twist and ‘ouch’! Remember the classic song, “The shin bone’s connected to the thigh bone”? If our hips are tight, the motion gets transferred to the next available joint: the knee.
Try This: Move with awareness and respect into your hip openers, avoid any strange sensations at the knee (Would you open your front door to a stranger?), and use your other connection –your ankle—to keep your knee alignment, by flexing the foot and toes up.