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Yoga is a good way of promoting wellbeing in both body and mind. But like any physical exercise, it has its share of injuries usually caused when beginners perform risky poses.

Common Injuries

  • Neck Injuries
    Attempting poses with plows, shoulder stands and headstands can lead to neck injuries like:
  • Shoulder Injuries
    During the shrug move, the muscles are compressed and over-extending or overstretching can cause inflammation and tears in Rotator cuff tendons bringing pain and swelling.
  • Rib Injuries
    Performing improper body twists can lead to overextending and bruise the Intercostal muscles, present in between the ribs.
  • Wrist Tendonitis
    Inflammation of the tendons at the wrist joint leads to pain and swelling.
  • Elbow Injuries
    By performing poses where the elbows are bent to the sides, pose ndue stress on the elbows.
  • Hip Injuries
    Warrior pose and splits over-extends the hips leading to torn inner thigh and groin muscles.
  • Lower Back Injuries
    Deep twists or forward bends with straight legs put stress on the sacral iliac joints, bony protrusions at top of the sacrum and cause tears in the annular fibers protecting the lower back.
  • Pelvis and Gluteal Injuries
    Inflammation of the soft-tissue in the buttocks occurs when pelvic joints destabilizes due to much seated practice.
  • Hamstring Injuries
    Forward bending aggressively leads to overstretching that can cause tear in the hamstring muscles.
  • Knee Tears
    Constant twisting and exerting pressure on the knees result in tearing the collateral ligaments and tendons:
  • ACL tear
    It is common injury causing pain and swelling in the knees due to the sudden stops or side collisions.


  • Performing poses with quick and jerky movements.
  • Trying to round your spine to bring yourself deep into forward folds
  • Attempting a hard-to-do pose.
  • Forward bends cause bulging disks and other back injuries and hamstring injuries.
  • Twisting the knee during a pigeon pose, warrior pose or half lotus can cause knee tears.
  • Attempting poses like downward dog by people with weak wrists.
  • Performing the Full Wheel pose and resting on top of the head before going up in the pose can injure the neck.
  • Flinging the neck too far behind without support while doing Camel and Upward Dog poses also causes neck injuries.

Prevention and Treatment

  • Warm-up by gently stretching tight areas and take your time in loosening up.
  • Regular strength training, like resistance-training and functional exercise, is recommended to reduce
  • muscular compensations. Some of the recommended exercises are:
    • Thigh Muscle stretches
    • Hamstring stretching
    • Strengthen the abdominal muscle weakness by doing crunches etc.
  • Always stabilize your core.
  • Always be careful while practicing yoga, especially beginners who must have yoga instructors.
  • Always start at a beginner level and advance gradually.
  • Don’t push yourself by attempting poses that are hard to do.
  • Be cautious in headstand, plough and shoulder stands to prevent neck injuries.
  • Learn the alignment principles to align your musculoskeletal system with the help of an instructor.
  • Breath Awareness should always be there to indicate your mental and physical state.
  • Modify your poses to your limitations by using props for support.
Authored by Dr Banarji B.H - Shoulder Surgeon, Bangalore

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Baby Das

Last one year I was suffering from acute shoulder pain on my left shoulder. I went to several doctors, but not diagnosed.

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