Common Yoga Injuries :
Muscles : A strain occurs when muscle tissue stretches or tears. When a muscle is powerfully contracted or stretched too far, the strain is acute. Chronic strains result from excess use over time. A pulled hamstring is a common muscle strain seen in yoga class. This occurs particularly where the hamstring attaches to the sitting bones, and is a result of overstretching in sealed forward-bending poses.
Other common muscle strains involve the hip flexors (caused by deep lunges), the neck (brought on by yoga poses such as plow or unsupported shoulder stand) and the low back (from overflexing the lumbar area in seated or standing forward bends).
Tendons and Bursae : Tendonitis and bursitis are common overuse injuries. Tendonitis is inflammation or irritation of a tendon (American College of Rheumatology 2003). Tendons are the thick fibrous cords that attach muscle to bone. They transmit the power generated by a muscle contraction to move a bone. Bursitis is inflammation or irritation of a bursa. Bursae are small sacs located between moving structures such as bones, muscles, skin arid tendons. The bursae act as cushioning to allow smooth gliding between these structures. Yoga poses such as downward-facing dog, four-limbed staff pose (the “yoga push-up”) and side plank can place a lot of stress on bursae in the shoulders, elbows and wrists. Spending long periods of time in these postures before developing adequate strength can cause bursitis or tendonitis around the shoulder or elbow joints, exacerbate carpal tunnel syndrome (chronic injury of the median nerve) or produce wrist strain.
Ligaments and Cartilage : Participants who hyperextend their knees or elbows place additional stress on stabilizing ligaments and tendons, potentially causing inflammation of joint structures. Hyperextension of the knees is a common mistake in straight-leg poses like triangle or seated forward bend, whereas elbow hyperextension frequently occurs in upward-facing dog, plank pose with straight arms and downward-facing dog. Yoga instructors or students who try to force their feet onto their thighs for lotus before the hips are adequately flexible may tear or pinch the meniscus (cartilage disks between the tibia and femur) or damage ligaments, A participant who presses down too aggressively in downward-facing dog risks tearing shoulder cartilage.
Spinal Disks : Yoga injuries such as herniated intervertebral disks, fractures and degenerative disk disease are some of the more serious yoga injuries. Plow, shoulder stand and seated or standing forward bends concentrate compression forces on the spine, which can lead to injury. Undertrained or overzealous yoga instructors who try to push students too deeply into these postures may endanger their participants’ safety. It is not only inflexible students who are at risk.
Hypermobile students can also get injured, because their loose ligaments make their joints more unstable.