Yoga Teacher Training Forum
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April 27, 2015
I observed that my joints start to make these cracking and popping sounds more and more often. Especially my shoulders, my elbows, sometimes my wrists, my ts and my ankles, my spine, and some days ago my right knee started too. I don't feel any pain, but I don't like the feeling of cracking and popping very much (while at the spine it usually feels "good", I don't like how it feels in my knee), it just feels a bit weird. Is there anything I can do about that, to reduce that? Is it "unhealthy", and what could be the reasons for that?
April 27, 2015
About Popping Joints in Yoga Classes
Yoga provides many benefits to the body and mind, but it can also cause damage if it is not practiced correctly, or if the student does not recognize the signs that their body is not performing to its best and that they should stop. Though many students have practiced yoga for a long time, and many of them are in tune with their bodies, they may be reluctant to admit that they need to stop. Yoga teachers must be aware of the signs of problems in their students, and one of the most often neglected area of concern is the popping of joints during classes. Popping joints may be painful, and they can certainly be distracting for the student.
Joints pop for a few reasons: bones are rubbing together and causing a friction-related pop sound, or the joints are popping into or out of alignment, or the joints have been resting in one position for too long and make noise when they finally separate. The first may not always be serious, but it has the potential to be, and this should not be ignored. The latter two may be beneficial, but this depends on the way that the joints are popping; if they are becoming properly aligned through this, then the popping can have a positive side, but this requires a consultation with a properly trained physician.
Practicing safe yoga is important, and poses that are not being performed correctly can cause permanent damage to the joints. One of the easiest ways to ease popping joints is to formally correct the student's positioning. Holding poses for shorter periods of time can assist in decreasing the occurrence of popping joints. There are specific stretches designed for those students with chronic joint popping, but the important part is to avoid extending the muscles too far. Holding the positions closer to the body can help with this.
The level of concern with popping joints depends on what is causing that popping noise, but any popping of the joints should not go ignored. Students may not speak up about issues they are having, and it is a teacher's responsibility to be aware of their students. Yoga studios are often quiet, or even silent, and popping joints are easily heard. Students who are dealing with popping joints should be made aware of why their joints are popping and how they can stop it from continuing to happen.
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