Yoga is one of the most holistic forms of exercise and manages to calibrate the mind and the body into a perfect balance. It disciplines the mind and keeps the body functioning well when done in the long run. This is what makes it so popular all over the world. No matter which part of the world you live in, you’ll probably find yoga classes somewhere near you because of it’s many scientifically-backed benefits.
However, it’s important to remember that yoga can have serious side effects if not done right. A study published in BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine in 2019 revealed that of the 1,702 test subjects, every one in five suffered from acute adverse effects and one in ten reported chronic adverse effects. This suggests that when done wrong, yoga can have both short- and long-term side effects.
The importance of the right teacher
This is primarily the reason why you need to find the right teacher or guru to teach you yoga and guide you through the complex set of exercises, while also teaching you how to breathe properly through the movements and minimise injuries. Every individual is different, and only a proper instructor can teach you how to adopt and adapt to the holistic system of yoga. Yoga also involves engaging your core properly, and this is definitely something you need help with if you’re a beginner.
If you don’t get a good instructor or do yoga wrong, the following are some ways you could potentially harm yourself.
1. Excessive pain: Engage your core the wrong way or for too long, don’t breathe properly while doing asanas or push yourself too far to do a difficult pose, and you are likely to strain your muscles and skeleton too much. Musculoskeletal pain is highly likely in such cases.
2. Back pain and slip disc: A number of basic and advanced asanas like Bharadvajasana, Bitilasana, etc engage your spinal cord and back to ease backaches. However, do them wrong and you can not only increase your back issues but even get a slipped disc.
3. Stiff neck and sprain: Poses like Setu Bandha Sarvangasana and Matsyasana require you to bend and twist your neck in a number of ways. Doing these the wrong way can stiffen your neck muscles and even cause a neck sprain.
4. Muscle pulls: If you’re not flexible enough and strain yourself to do any number of yoga asanas that require you to bend and twist your limbs or torso in ways you haven’t practised properly before, you are at a high risk of pulling your muscles or tearing ligaments.
5. Major accidents: Some of the riskiest and most advanced yoga asanas are headstands which require years of dedication and practice before you can even attempt them. If you do these without proper guidance, you can suffer from a serious head or spinal cord trauma, which could also turn fatal.
For more information, read our article on Yoga: Benefits, types, tips and precautions.
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