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What does a beginner need?
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September 20, 2006 - 5:59 am
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Don't Get Bent Out of Shape!
By Dr. Maya Pande

Yoga is a popular practice that helps tone muscles, increase flexibility and decrease stress. But did you know that yoga-related injuries have been on the rise in the past few years? This may be due to overcrowded classes and inexperienced teachers. Even though yoga can be very gentle, the poses are very powerful and when done improperly, can lead to injury.

Common areas of injury are:

Neck: Pressure is put on the neck when poses like "plow," "shoulder stand" and "headstand" are done improperly. Only try these poses only under the close supervision of an experienced teacher.

Wrists: Poses that put extra weight on your wrists can flare up conditions like carpal tunnel and arthritis.

Knees: Don't force your knees into "lotus" or other vulnerable positions. If you don't have enough flexibility in your hip, it could lead to a torn meniscus (cartilage), stretched or torn knee ligaments.

Lower Back: Forward and backward bends and twists, if done incorrectly, can result in back strains/sprains. Bend your knees to take pressure off the lower back.

So how do you avoid injuries while still enjoying the benefits of yoga?

Learn the moves from a qualified yoga instructor, in a class.
Stretch before you begin any exercise.
Don't overdo a stretch or push past what's comfortable.
Modify the moves for your body and any injuries you may already have. Talk to your instructor for help.
Don't compete with yourself or anyone else. A stretch that was easy yesterday may not be easy today!
If you have an injury or want to enhance your yoga skills, chiropractic can help by:

Keeping your spine and joints in alignment.
Increasing the flexibility of your spine and muscles.
Decreasing soreness that occurs after a session.
Decreasing the recovery time when you do have an injury.
By following instructions and listening to your body, yoga is a great way to improve your health and increase your mental well-being!

Dr. Maya Pande is the owner of Pande Family Wellness Centre in Toronto. She graduated from the University of Western Ontario and completed her Chiropractic education at Logan College of Chiropractic in St. Louis, Missouri in 1997. Dr. Pande treats a variety of patients, including seniors, pregnant women, children and adults of all ages. The low-force chiropractic technique she uses is ideal for everyone especially those preferring a more gentle approach to chiropractic care.

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