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Not unlike using gym equipment improperly and risking injury, if yoga poses are done incorrectly, you could sustain injuries – especially if you are new to the practice of yoga. Some of the most vulnerable areas at risk for injury include your wrists, lower back, knees, neck, elbows, and shoulders. The most important thing to remember is to listen to your body. Your range of motion and flexibility may not be where you’d like it when you first begin, but don’t push your body past its limitations. As you increase the frequency of your practice, your flexibility and range of motion will increase. Here are four tips to keep in mind for a healthy and injury-free yoga practice.

Don’t practice alone

Though yoga can be rewarding when done alone in the comfort of your own home, when you are a beginner yogi, it’s important to practice with a good, experienced instructor who can teach you how to properly and safely move into your poses and avoid injury.

Warm up prior to your practice

No matter the exercise or activity, it’s always a good idea to warm up your muscles and joints beforehand. A slow, gentle warm up before yoga can help your muscles perform better, which can help protect your from injury. Start with some gentle neck and wrist rotations and some arm swings to help you feel more limber and ready to go.

Use props

Even long-time yogis still listen to their bodies and use props when necessary. Yoga props like a wedge, a rolled up mat, a towel or strap, bolsters, or blocks can help support your body and let your muscles relax when needed. Props can take the pressure off your wrists, neck, knees, and back, hopefully decreasing your chances of injury in certain poses.

Modify your poses

When you first begin the practice of yoga, you’ll probably need to modify some of the poses a bit to prevent injury. That’s where a good instructor can help you. Depending on the pose, you can modify many of them by placing your knees on the ground to stabilize your body; bend your knees in forward folds so you low back isn’t compressed; keep a slight bend in your knees when a pose calls for straight legs. Always engage your lower abdomen to strengthen your core when doing back poses.

When beginning yoga, please remember not to force your body into a pose that it’s not ready for. Patience, frequent practice, and a great instructor will get you where you want to be. LHAA offers a variety of yoga classes from gentle to yoga with weights in an inviting and nurturing studio. Take a look at our class schedule here.

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