How to Avoid an Injury When Practicing Yoga, MASSAGE MagazineThree major factors that can contribute to a yoga-related injury include:

1. Individuals pushing past their body’s stretch point and limitations

2. Competition and not listening to one’s body

3. Inexperienced or poorly trained teacher instruction

It is important to find a qualified instructor and develop personal safety measures. It is up to the individual to know when to push her body and when to let up in a pose.

The most common yoga injuries are created by repetitive motion or overstretching. General areas of the body that can be injured are the wrists, shoulders, neck, along the spine, the sacroiliac joint, hamstrings and knees. The knee is very vulnerable to injury. For example, when one sits in Lotus Pose and presses the knee joints down while pulling up on the foot, a torn or strained ligament can result.

It is best to start out with a basic beginner level. Learn your stretch point and progress slowly. In a beginner’s class, you will learn the foundational concepts of yoga. With a strong foundation, you will build a healthy, vibrant yoga practice. Most students become injured due to competition. Out of a need to be better or more skillful than others, they put themselves into positions their body is not ready for and as a result, end up with a muscle strain or injured tendon or ligament.

Karina Braun, MASSAGE MagazineReproduced with permission from Yoga for Massage Therapists and Bodyworkers. Karina Braun also wrote the innovative book, Creating Peace with Your Hands, which includes insightful strategies for self-care and injury prevention. For more information, visit