Yoga injuries are not uncommon, but as hot yoga gains popularity in the United States, yoga injuries are becoming more prevalent. The three most common yoga injuries involve hamstrings, shoulders, and back problems, according to Elephant Journal. But what is really to blame here, yoga or the heat?
Bikram is a style of yoga that involves performing 26 postures in a progressive sequence in a room heated to 105 degrees and 40% humidity. As the room, and the students, heat up, the body becomes more flexible and can go deeper into poses than when at room temperature. This type of yoga is actually what people are referring to when they say they practice "hot yoga." The class usually lasts from 75-90 minutes, the poses are exactly the same every time (it is a routine), and students sweat more than in any other style of yoga. Standing poses make up about half of the class, with the remainder of the poses done either lying or sitting on the floor.
Hot yoga enthusiasts claim that the profuse sweating is detoxifying, and the somewhat grueling class creates a feeling of deep relaxation and mental clarity when it is over. But some students are experiencing injuries in this type of class, because they push themselves to do versions poses they aren't ready for, or because of the extreme heat and humidity, their body is in a place it isn't used to. Ego sometimes gets into the game, and the next thing you know, you are trying to outdo your neighbor, and a hamstring is overstretched or too much strain is put on the lower back. Keep in mind that a yoga injury is rarely the instructor's fault, it is usually the student's fault for attempting a posture he isn't ready for.
The answer? Yoga experts and instructors say to listen to your body. Even though yoga isn't a competitive sport like running or cycling, injuries can occur if the human body is pushed too far. Know your limits, respect your body, and avoid yoga injuries by being smart.
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