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The One Not So Surprising Reason Yoga Is Not Good For You

disavantages of yoga, health, fitness, exercise

Science has shown disadvantages to practicing Yoga. Findings show Yoga may be harmful to your upper body according to new research, injuring the shoulders, elbows, wrists and hands, or worsening an existing injury.


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Why Yoga Can Be Harmful

We’ve heard a million reasons why yoga is good for you – it calms the mind, soothes the soul, builds dexterity, reduces stress, and more. But now it seems there are disadvantages to yoga. The one major reason yoga is harmful according to new research, is because yoga can use musculoskeletal injuries and also make existing injuries worse, particularly in the wrists, shoulders, elbows and hands.

Yoga Can Cause Musculoskeletal Pain Or Worsen It

The study out of the University of Australia, published in the Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies, confirmed and concluded that yoga can cause musculoskeletal pain or worsen it.

The study on the disadvantages of yoga was a prospective cohort study of 354 people with one-year follow-up. Data was collected on participants through electronic questionnaires, one year apart. Conclusions included the incidence and impact of pain caused by yoga as well as the prevalence of pain caused, exacerbated, unaffected, and improved by yoga.

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Yoga Strains The Upper Body

Results showed that most “new” yoga injuries were in the upper extremities (shoulder, elbow, wrist, hand) possibly due to downward dog and similar postures that put weight on the upper limbs. In terms of severity, the research showed more than one-third of cases of pain caused by yoga were serious enough to prevent participation in the exercise for over three months.

“While yoga can be beneficial for musculoskeletal pain, like any form of exercise, the it can also result in musculoskeletal pain,” said lead researcher Associate Professor Evangelos Pappas from the University’s Faculty of Health Sciences, who conducted the research together with Professor Marc Campo from Mercy College, New York.

“Our study found that the incidence of pain caused by yoga is more than 10 percent per year, which is comparable to the injury rate of all sports injuries combined among the physically active population. However people consider it to be a very safe activity. This injury rate is up to 10 times higher than has previously been reported."

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Should You Stop Yoga?

If you enjoy yoga there’s no reason to give up the exercise, however, due to these new found disadvantages of yoga, it’s important to inform yoga instructors of injuries prior to participation. What is more, yoga teachers should also discuss the risks for injury with their students beforehand.