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Yoga has skyrocketed in popularity within the last decade due to its mental health benefits, such as stress and anxiety relief, improved moods and enhanced sleep quality. However, these benefits may also be accompanied by some health deficits, according to a recent New York Times article.
The number one factor contributing to the rising risk of yoga is the shift in demographics of those who practice it, according to the article’s author William J. Broad. Most yoga instructors are of Indian decent, and are therefore accustomed to squatting and sitting cross-legged on a daily basis. Their American students, however, are used to sitting in chairs all day, which makes them less flexible than their teachers and more likely to strain themselves while trying to match their trainers’ exotic twists and turns.
Extreme motion of the head and neck is another serious yoga-related health risk. These movements could damage the vertebral arteries, producing clots, swelling, and constrictions, all factors that contribute to stroke. Although it will take time for a stroke to occur, headaches, dizziness, imbalances, and reduction in fine motor skills may endure over time.
Doctors are seeing an increasing amount of yoga-related injuries each year, but there are several ways to avoid a visit to the chiropractor. To avoid injury while practicing yoga, follow these guidelines:
-Find a qualified instructor. Your instructor is there to push your limits and make adjustments for you, so make sure that they have completed at least the minimum amount of training.
- Set realistic expectations and do not compete with yourself or those around you. It is important to remember that yoga skills improve over time, with increases in strength, flexibility, and balance, so do not try to keep up with the person next to you.
- Identify injury prone zones. Before you begin practicing yoga, identify areas of the body that have experienced past injuries where you will have to take special precautions.
Always remember to pose with caution in order to reap all of the benefits from yoga!
By Paige Carlotti