The Ultimate Guide to an Injury-Free Practice

If you’ve ever experienced an energetic release in a deep hip or heart opener or have felt invigorated by a few Sun Salutations, you can attest to the feel-good power of yoga. But other times, your practice may involve uncomfortable postures. These have benefits, too. They help you learn about yourself and your resistance—whether it’s physical, psychological, or emotional, says Judith Hanson Lasater, Ph.D., PT, who’s been teaching since 1971.

“The gifts of doing this [type of] work are endless, but it comes with some inherent physical risks,” she says. Yoga can cause musculoskeletal pain and exacerbate existing injuries, according to research.

One study found that from 2001 to 2014, yoga-related injuries doubled for people between ages 45 and 64—and increased eightfold for those 65 and older. This may be because the older age group is more likely to have preexisting conditions, such as spinal issues, decreased bone density, and low flexibility, which could contribute to injuries. The surge in yoga teachers, coupled with a lack of standardized training, may also play a role, the study authors say.


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