My mom went to a beginner’s yoga class and was diagnosed with a broken hand afterwards. Apparently she did tons of downward dogs and cobras during that session. Does that really happen? Can yoga cause injuries? - Rick R.
Unfortunately, like with any other type of physical activity, in yoga, injury can very well be a price you pay for improper form or overuse. Although yoga mostly tends to show off its spiritual side, there are certainly safety precautions that must be taken seriously when practicing, especially if the type is yoga is faster or more advanced, or if you’re new to the practice. Typically, Downward Dog, Cobra, and other poses like them can cause pain or discomfort in the wrist and forearm area if a person isn’t used to practicing them. If this type of pain is something you’re recognizing in your own practice, be sure to pay attention to it, and most importantly, tend to it. Teachers stress adjustments if you need them, so always modify, modify, modify when necessary! There’s no shame in coming down to your knees in plank or resting in Child’s Pose in place of Down Dog. Listen to your body, what it needs and what it’s ready for, and injury should never be a problem.
There are plenty of preliminary exercises for dynamically stretching the hands, wrists, and forearms. Unfortunately, these areas are often ignored, which, as in Rick’s mom’s case, can cause injury. If you’re worried about over-stretching or possibly injuring yourself, make it known to your teacher, and ask him or her to go over some exercises you can do before your practice. Not only can they help ease any pain in simple poses like Down Dog, they can also help you achieve more advanced postures, like handstand.
Here Is One Of My Favorite Stretches
Rest in tabletop position, with your shoulders over your wrists and your hips over your knees. Flip your hands over, so that the tops of your hands are on the floor, and your palms are facing the sky. Allow your body to shift forward and back, side to side. If you start to feel a lot of sensation, and it feels like enough, stay here. If you want to take it a bit further, bend your elbows out to the side to create more “slack” in your arms. From there, bring your hands into fists, and squeeze as tight as you can. If you’re able, begin to straighten your elbows, keeping the strong contraction in your fist. Repeat 3-5 times, shaking the hands and relaxing the wrists between each repetition. Oh, and... smile!