This age-old practice might be the reason you have joint pain.
Yoga is known for its outstanding healing benefits. As an all-rounded workout, it is known to strengthen, lengthen and tone your muscles while promoting calmness, relaxation and well-being. In addition to advocating patience and perfecting your balance, yoga also teaches humility, which needs yogis to let go of their egos.
But with the advent of widely commercial gym classes, yoga sessions might have become nothing more than a challenge about executing the fasted shoulder stand or forming the perfect downward dog. People push themselves to the physical limit, thinking that they can handle all the stretches- these are just our muscles after all.
However, if done incorrectly, this typically healing practice may give rise to physical injuries over time. A prime reason for this is the added pressure on your joints as you over-stretch during poses.
Typically, if your feet or hips are not properly aligned during poses, you’ll be adding unnecessary pressure to your joints instead of actually exercising the required muscle groups.
For example, if your knee is not aligned with your foot while holding a lunge, you’ll only be straining your knee ligaments during the period of time your yoga instructor wants you to hold that pose. This pressure to your knee can become a problem for you over time.
Intermediate poses such as the shoulder stand are common in yoga lessons but don’t be too quick to raise your legs at the expense of your neck. If done incorrectly, you might be putting all your body weight on your delicate neck or spine. The right way to form a perfect shoulder stand is to make sure that your weight only falls on your shoulders and upper arms.
This is why double checking with your yoga trainers is the best measure to take. If you are suffering silently in uncomfortable yoga poses, be sure to ask your teacher if you’re supposed to feel any strain or discomfort during that especially agonising pose.
Check with your yoga teacher that your back, neck, hips, hands and legs are in the right position and angle. Never be afraid to raise your injuries or muscle strains to your yoga teacher before class as it’s very important that they advise you on the modifications you can make to the poses. Moreover, if you feel any pain during poses be sure to voice this out to your teacher so you won’t be putting your joints under any pressure. Don’t be shy to ask- yoga is all about letting go of your ego!