Are there Bikram yoga dangers? Truth be told – yes, you can suffer yoga injuries. Yoga can be very beneficial, but you need to take it slow and not try to emulate Madonna or Lady Gaga – or even the guy on the next mat. You might overstretch in any type of yoga, but hot yoga makes it easier to take things too far. Learn about Bikram yoga dangers, and don’t overstretch in your next yoga class!
Bikram Yoga Dangers: Don’t Overstretch!
From its meditative Indian roots, yoga has been transformed for the 21st century. It now boasts it own fashion ranges and more intense versions set in heated gyms. From Madonna contorting herself into pretzel shapes for her stage shows and Lady Gaga announcing “I’m kicking ass in yoga” the discipline, for some, has become increasingly extreme, competitive and, as a result, prone to injuries.
“I’m seeing a lot more yoga-related injuries coming through,” says chartered physiotherapist Frances Moran from Bodyworks Physio, Baggot St, Dublin.
“In the past fortnight alone I’ve had three. It’s still small numbers compared to rugby or football, but they’re definitely on the increase.”
Typically, the injuries are of the neck and lower back from overstretching or bruised cartilage in the hips and damaged knees. “Yoga is a super form of exercise but how beneficial it is depends on what type you’re doing, who is teaching it and what class numbers are like,” says Moran. “Particularly in Bikram yoga, which involves stretching in hot temperatures: it’s easy for people to push themselves too far without realising it.”
Moran isn’t convinced that anyone needs to strive to stretch themselves into the sort of shapes Madonna achieves.
“As a physio I would question how much flexibility we really need. Yes, you want to be supple but the body isn’t designed for us to have our legs behind our heads and there can be problems associated with being too flexible.
“I have several clients who did a lot of yoga for years and stopped only to develop a lot of aches and pains a few months later. Basically their bodies had adapted to that level of flexibility and needed it to hold it together.”
There’s also a concern that injuries could be linked to larger classes and poor teaching.
“Personally I would never have more than 12 in a class,” says teacher Pauline McCarthy. “That way I can monitor what everyone’s doing. I also make sure I know if anyone has injuries or health complaints.”
Walsh’s advice is for any would-be yoga devotees to read up on the form of yoga they want to do and research teachers before signing up to anything. He says: “There’s a form of yoga out there that’s suitable for everyone and with the correct supervision and by building up gradually, there is no need for anyone to injure themselves.”
I know from first-hand experience that you can overstretch and cause pain from yoga classes. My solution is to balance yoga and Pilates – stretch and strengthening. And most importantly, to take my ego out of my exercise! I don’t need to impress anyone, including myself, with how far I can stretch.
Bikram Yoga Dangers [video]
Evaluate the dangers of Bikram yoga with expert tips from a yoga instructor in this free fitness video.
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