Avoiding Injury In Yoga


There’s been a lot in the press lately about the regulation of yoga and the yoga industry. It goes without saying that a teacher should go through rigorous training before they teach – but should this be done by just one yoga school?  At MFML, we don’t think so.


We Celebrate Diversity In Life

This is why, on the site, we have teachers from different yoga traditions. Some traditions suit some bodies at some times better than others. As with life, there’s no ‘one size fits all’.

What About Injury?

It is interesting that part of the discussion about regulation has been in the interests of reducing injury. In fact, there’s not much evidence that yoga is particularly injurious.

In Dec 2014, research was released to say that:

“Less than 1% of individuals who had ever practiced yoga (n = 2230) reported an injury from yoga that led to discontinued use.”  International Journal Of Yoga

We all risk a possibility of a sprained ankle when walking across a field, or a torn ligament when running if you’re not warmed up. Not to mention RSI or carpal tunnel from tapping away at your computer. Injuries can happen all the time, it’s a question of being mindful about what your body’s doing and only doing things within your range of capability.

Does Doing Yoga Online Increase The Risk Of Injury?

It depends how it’s done. If you’re practicing at home by just doing what the teacher is doing without listening to your body, or craning your neck to see the screen, you may injure yourself!

But if you go to a crowded yoga class where one teacher is meant to look at sometimes upwards of 30 students and individually guide them, this may be more potentially injurious as our ego’s tend to jump in here.

If we are led by our ego, we can stretch and strain beyond our capabilities to impress the person next door. If we are not aware of our body and too reliant on the teacher seeing us we are giving too much of our power away.

Stay Present In Your Body – It Is The Most Potent Teacher

We advise that you practice with a seasoned teacher. Not necessarily the most famous teacher, but a teacher who has been practicing and teaching yoga for years. That’s where our handpicked selection of senior teachers kicks in – to give you a reassurance that if they’re on our site, they’re pretty special teachers.

See if you can practice each movement as mindfully as possible, so that you start to enquire into your body as to the feelings during practice.

Feel The Sensations

What is the healthy ache of a muscle being used? As soon as your body doesn’t like something it will give you a warning sign – usually a sharp pain or something you automatically back away from – listen to that.

The general rule: Any pain at all, stop what you’re doing immediately. However, if you have a dull ache in a muscle, that’s okay. Our recommendation if you are a newcomer in a fast paced class and you haven’t done a foundations course: Go easy.

To minimise injury in practicing yoga at home, I would recommend you see a teacher in person 1:1 regularly. They can check your alignment and give you personal attention to an extent that many class teachers won’t be able to. Check that the classes you choose are suitable for you, and a good teacher will help to bespoke your practice, whilst challenging you within your own capability.

My own top tips for safety is to leave your ego tucked away in a box, lock it, and throw away the key. If we stop striving for positions and just feel what we feel and enjoy the process, your yoga is unlikely to hurt you and you’ll enjoy your practice more.

Play Safely!

Founder of project WAWADIA – or ‘What Are We Actually Doing in Asana’, Matthew Remski, talks with Kat Farrants, Founder of MFML about his experience of working in the yoga community.

“Almost no-one gets out of Yoga without an Injury.” Matthew Remski

Is this your experience?

And how can we reduce the risk of injury in yoga?

MFML loves the debate on injury and yoga – why it happens, how to reduce and how to practice consciously and injury-free. Join the debate by leaving a comment below!

Kat Farrants by Karen Yeomans

This post was written by Kat Farrants, founder of Movement For Modern Life.


One thought on “Avoiding Injury In Yoga

  1. Pingback: Standards for yoga teaching or empire building? | Holistic yoga with Alyson

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