Yoga

01 Overview

Originating in ancient India, yoga is a series of mental and physical exercises that gained popularity in the Western world in the 1980s. Different types of yoga range in pace, breathing, temperature, and physicality; styles include hatha, Bikram, and kundalini. Practicing yoga has physical, mental, and spiritual benefits. While the risk of injury in yoga is low, sprains and strains can occur.

(see Section 04 - Prevention)
Athlete silhouette
View Common Injuries by clicking the blue dots on the silhouette

Injuries to the trunk are relatively common, and can include injuries to the back (e.g., fractures, sprains, or lumbar discs tears).

Most yoga injuries that result in emergency room visits occur to the lower extremities.

02 Injury Statistics

It is estimated that...

03 Risk Factors

Factors that can lead to injury when practicing yoga include: overstretching, stumbling into another participant, and injuries related to equipment or the environment (e.g., tripping over a mat).

  • Yoga Poses

    Certain yoga poses are more commonly associated with injuries, such as the headstand (sirsasana), supported shoulderstand (sarvangasana), lotus position (padmasana), forward bend (uttanasana), and backward bends (such as wheel pose, or urdhva dhanurasana).

04 How can I prevent injury?

Some muscle soreness or joint pain is expected when increasing your level of physical activity. However, it is important to listen to your body for persistent or worsening pain, and to know when to rest. Learn more about how to prevent injuries in yoga.

  • Participant & Parent

    Strength Training Program

    The Oslo Sport Trauma Research Centre has developed exercises that can support your yoga practice. This resource includes videos and PDFs for download.

    Learn more about exercises to help prevent knee injuries.

    For more exercises, visit http://fittoplay.org/.

    Other Considerations (about this section)

    Certified Yoga Instructor
    Attempting to do yoga at home can increase your risk of injury. A highly experienced and qualified yoga instructor can help you improve your form and suggest appropriate poses for your level of practice.

    Activity Level
    The most common injuries when practicing yoga are strains and sprains, often due to “overstretching”. Proper form and posture is very important.

    The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons provide information on injury prevention while practicing yoga.

    Sport-related Physicals
    Some pre-existing conditions may increase the risk of injury when practicing yoga. An annual sport-related physical evaluation ensuring fitness to participate can help to reduce risk of injury. KidsHealth provides information about what sports physicals are, why they may be appropriate and where you may go to get them.

    Learn more about Kids Health Sports Physicals.

  • Coach & Teacher

    Talk to your organization or school about the prevention strategies below and how they might be incorporated into training and policies.

    Strength Training Program

    The Oslo Sport Trauma Research Centre has developed exercises that can support your yoga practice. This resource includes videos and PDFs for download.

    Learn more about exercises to help prevent knee injuries.

    For more exercises, visit http://fittoplay.org/.

    Other Considerations (about this section)

    Activity Level
    The most common injuries when practicing yoga are strains and sprains, often due to “overstretching”. Proper form and posture is very important.

    The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons provide information on injury prevention while practicing yoga.

    Facilities
    The Ontario Physical Education Association (OPHEA) provides recommendations for safely implementing yoga in elementary and secondary schools.

    Sport-related Physicals
    Some pre-existing conditions may increase the risk of injury when practicing yoga. An annual sport-related physical evaluation ensuring fitness to participate can help to reduce risk of injury. KidsHealth provides information about what sports physicals are, why they may be appropriate and where you may go to get them.

    Learn more about Kids Health Sports Physicals.

  • Official & Administrator

    Talk to your teachers, organization, or school about the prevention strategies below and how they might be incorporated into training and policies.

    Strength Training Program

    The Oslo Sport Trauma Research Centre has developed exercises that can support your yoga practice. This resource includes videos and PDFs for download.

    Learn more about exercises to help prevent knee injuries.

    For more exercises, visit http://fittoplay.org/.

    Other Considerations (about this section)

    Activity Level
    The most common injuries when practicing yoga are strains and sprains, often due to “overstretching”. Proper form and posture is very important.

    The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons provide information on injury prevention while practicing yoga.

    Facilities
    The Ontario Physical Education Association (OPHEA) provides recommendations for safely implementing yoga in elementary and secondary schools.

    Sport-related Physicals
    Some pre-existing conditions may increase the risk of injury when practicing yoga. An annual sport-related physical evaluation ensuring fitness to participate can help to reduce risk of injury. KidsHealth provides information about what sports physicals are, why they may be appropriate and where you may go to get them.

    Learn more about Kids Health Sports Physicals.

  • Health Professional

    The role of health professionals in preventing yoga injuries has two main components:

    1. Providing ongoing education to participants, parents, and instructors on effective injury prevention programs such as balance and resistance training; and
    2. Ensuring that injured players are completely healed and fit-to-perform before returning to yoga to prevent re-injury or chronic injury.

    Strength Training Program

    The Oslo Sport Trauma Research Centre has developed exercises that can support your yoga practice. This resource includes videos and PDFs for download.

    Learn more about exercises to help prevent knee injuries.

    For more exercises, visit http://fittoplay.org/.

    Other Considerations (about this section)

    Activity Level
    The most common injuries when practicing yoga are strains and sprains, often due to “overstretching”. Proper form and posture is very important.

    The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons provide information on injury prevention while practicing yoga.

    Sport-related Physicals
    Some pre-existing conditions may increase the risk of injury while practicing yoga. An annual sport-related physical evaluation ensuring fitness to participate can help to reduce risk of injury. The American Academy of Pediatrics provides information about preparticipation physical evaluation.

    Learn more about Preparticipation Physical Evaluation.