Have you ever been in a class where you are struggling to keep up? Even if you are feeling lost in a new sequence there are some things to remember to ensure you are free from injury, even in a crowded group class setting. Despite the numerous benefits of yoga when done out of alignment a yoga practice can actually cause harm to the body by bringing more asymmetry and excessive pressure to certain areas, follow these 3 points to realize a safe and controlled yoga practice no matter the setting
- Stabilize your joints
If you suffer from areas of chronic tensions or stiffness it is important that you first strengthen the muscles surrounding the area to ensure that any weight borne will be carried by the muscles and not the joint. Whether it is you neck, shoulders, knees, hips or wrists, first you must mobilize the joint to understand the range of motion that joint has and not to push it beyond its limits, then use isometric exercises to activate complementary muscles to protect the joint and take the load of ligaments and tendons surrounding the bone.
- Strengthen before stretching
It important you always warm up before going into deep stretches, this means get the muscles active and firing away. If you go into a deep stretch without having the done at least 10 minutes of strength training the muscles are more likely to tear and damage. Think about a iron rod as your muscles, you can only lengthen and stretch it if adequate heat is first applied, without this the chances of it breaking is much higher.
- Breathe into the poses
The reason why your breath is given so much emphasis in a yoga class is because it acts as a stress barometer. If you are anxious or your body is in a state of stress your breath will automatically change to reflect this. You will find yourself holding your breath or taking quick and shallow breaths as though your were panting. This is an indication that you are pushing too hard and that you should back off to be able to relax into a rhythm of deep and slow breathing. Noticing your breath is like backward induction where you can tell if the intensity of the class is suitable if you able to still maintain yogic breathing.
At Inspire Yoga we aim for a completely injury free practice by specializing in private yoga classes. With one on one classes or semi-private classes we can focus on individual needs, we are aware that no two bodies are identical so we are trained to spot any asymmetries and provide hands on adjustments and variations to ensure you get the most out of your practice. Often if one area is weak another muscle in the body will compensate for this, resulting in tightness and an imbalanced posture. We first work to evenly distribute the strength around the body making sure all intrinsic muscles are activated correctly and then we go deeper to stretch areas of tension and tightness. The synchronization of breathing through each movement keeps you from over extending and being in control of each pose so that you are empowered in a safe and progressive yoga practice.