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10 Best Practices to Avoid Injury

Yoga brings us peace of mind and makes us feel good. We are aware of the many benefits that yoga provides, to name a few: stress reduction and coping skills, conscious breathing and mindfulness, flexibility, and strengthening. Yoga can heal the body and mind. We have heard success stories and also failures, because like anything we do in life, there is always a risk for injury. We all get injured, which includes me. As a yoga teacher, it is my responsibility to ensure the class I teach is appropriate for the level and skills of the student, that I guide you safely with a methodological and intelligent sequence. As a student, there is also responsibility and ownership to know your limitations, have reasonable expectations, and listen or learn to listen to your body. I pride myself on my cueing skills and that I am detailed oriented with alignment. We all need reminders, especially about common sense stuff or just that positive reinforcement. I also believe that injury can also help you be a better teacher/student and forces you to listen up to the feedback that the body is giving. We learn a lot about our bodies as soon as things go wrong. As a modern society with access to so much knowledge, there is more reason we can understand this ancient practice and our bodies. Here are a few best practices that I can share from my experiences:

  • It is valuable to choose the class /style and teacher that is appropriate for where you are today and what your body needs.

  • Make sure the teacher is qualified/ trained and has an understanding of anatomy and knowledge of possible risks. Yoga teachers are not doctors and cannot diagnose any injuries, but within the scope of the practice, they should be able to guide you in what you can or cannot do.

  • The pace, duration, and intensity of a class makes a significant impact on the demands on your body. If you are doing a pose correctly in alignment, but you have repeated it fast as well as numerous times, there is little opportunity to slow and explore the feedback your body is giving. Moreover, practice deep qualitative breath.

  • Repetitive strain can also become an issue. Doing a thousand chaturangas or doing Vinyasa Power class every day will take its toll on your joints and ligaments.

  • Not every pose suits everybody. Knowing your physical limitations

  • If you already have an injury, acute or chronic, for instance, a knee injury or hip replacement, whatever it is, understand it and keep awareness while guided into poses. Be honest with yourself.

  • Get to know your body and what feels right or wrong. Yoga should not give PAIN.

  • Cultivate wisdom when to stop and know your threshold. We all have different pain tolerance, but again there is no pain in yoga.

  • Do your best to prevent overloading one area of your body. Try to even or distribute the sensory experience. Balance it out.

  • No pain, no gain does not work in a yoga practice. The sports mentality is not part of yoga. If it hurts, stop.


If you get an injury, life is not over. Instead, you learn to step outside the box and practice or workout differently. It is possible, don't get discouraged. Your yoga practice should balance out with whatever else you're doing in your life. Therefore we cannot practice 7x a week. Instead, 3-4x is better to give your body ample rest or variations in activity. Try out a restorative style practice between the hard days. That brings me to the point that sometimes we have to readjust or evaluate our goals. Ask yourself, who are you doing this for? Is it praise you're looking for? Is it social media posts and likes? Prioritize the practice for its purpose to feel good, to feel challenged and strong, and build resilience. Ultimately you're here to look after yourself and develop that physical vocabulary and mind/body connection. Take a moment to reflect on the bigger picture. The route to progress is not hurting yourself.


Rachel xoxo


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