Many practice yoga as a gentle alternative to the normal grind of the gym. They enjoy the relaxing environment, the twists and turns of the intricate poses and the high number of calories that can be burned in just one session. However, for some, yoga might actually be doing more harm for the body than good; causing painful injuries that can follow them for life.

So how can something that fitness experts agree is good for you cause harm? Well according to an article in The New York Times many people are taking yoga classes even though they have underlying physical weaknesses or problems that make serious injury all but inevitable.

In the article Glenn Black, a yoga teacher for nearly forty years, describes having to treat people who came to him for bodywork or rehabilitation following yoga injuries that ranged from torn Achilles tendons doing basic poses like downward facing dog, to having to have hip replacement surgery, “One of the biggest teachers in America had zero movement in her hip joints. The sockets had become so degenerated that she had to have hip replacements.”

His overall consensus … yoga isn’t for everyone.

According to Black:

“Yoga is for people in good physical condition. Or it can be used therapeutically. It’s controversial to say, but it really shouldn’t be used for a general class.”

I’ve taken a yoga class or two and never injured myself, but the stress I put my body under to keep up with the rest of the class was enough to let me know it wasn’t for me, at least not now. I switched to a power pilates class that doesn’t require me to bend like a pretzel and allows me to achieve the same toning and strength qualities yoga provides, however I do know a few people who kept up with yoga and have, thankfully, only suffered from a few pulled muscles.

I wouldn’t tell anyone to stop taking yoga, especially if it is providing them with the health benefits they need, but after reading about all of the serious yoga related injuries that can occur, what I will say is…bend with caution!

Have you suffered any yoga related injuries?

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  1. How does one determine if they are healthy enough for yoga? I love it. I’m almost back to my high school cheerleader flexibility and I feel as if it really helps my asthma. I don’t do a class I do dvds and video from cable, but i have been doing it off and on since for almost 10 years and consider myself in decent health.

  2. If you stay with a teacher that helps and doesn’t push you past your limit, I think yoga is a great workout. It’s too bad stories like this one come out about yoga before people of color (mostly blacks) can afford to get into it. There is an absence of yoga studios in black neighborhoods around the country. Where’s the story on that?

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