Yoga began more than four thousand years ago, but it has become increasingly popular over the last several years. Hatha yoga is the physical component of yoga, and it involves performing a series of poses while controlling your breathing. Yoga has many benefits, including increased flexibility, strength, balance and endurance. Many say yoga helps to decrease stress and anxiety as well. However, if you are new to yoga, you may get injured if you force your body into poses it is not ready for. Maintaining proper technique and avoiding simple mistakes can help you perform yoga injury free.
Here are some simple tips for those beginning yoga:
Find a good instructor. The instructor should always ask if any participants have had any previous injuries or have had any surgery. The instructor should modify poses for those with previous injuries, and certain poses should be avoided. Ask the instructor about his or her yoga training; how many hours did it include? Is the instructor certified?
Consult with your doctor about whether yoga is right for you, especially if you have any injuries or medical conditions.
Warm up! Do about ten minutes of warm-up exercise, such as riding a stationary bike, to get the blood flow- ing to the muscles and to lubricate the joints.
Protect your back. Keep your knees slightly bent and make sure to hinge from your hips when you bend forward from a standing position. Also, do not overarch your lower back.
Protect your knees. Do not lock your knees when standing. When kneeling, place a cushion under your knees to avoid excess pressure on the knees.
Protect your neck. Keep your neck in alignment with the rest of your spine whenever possible.
Listen to your body. If something hurts or doesn’t feel right, do not push yourself.