Yoga injuries on the rise

Reno, NEV (KOLO) Valerie Cotta says she's practiced yoga off and on for 20 years. It's the best way she says to spend an hour in her day.

“So you get the physical, if you want the strength. You get that too. So you've got the stretching, you get the strength. But then there is the spiritual piece to it,” says Valerie.

More and more people are taking up yoga.

It can have great benefits from building strength to improving anxiety and sleep problems.

But a new study published in the Orthopaedic Journal of Sports Medicine shows while still modest, trips to the emergency room for yoga-related sprains, fractures, and other injuries are on the rise.

“The injury that happens as a result of yoga, usually are: I am doing a practice that is more intensive than I can handle. I don't know my level of capacity yet, and I am in a class that is going to challenge me. I show up and I am weak. I am not even strong and I do a regular class and now my back hurts,” says Marie Harger a Yoga Instructor with Aspired Elements.

The study shows most of the injuries are occurring in people over 65.

The findings don't surprise Harger who says these students just like
many beginning students enter a class not knowing what to expect, much less where their body capabilities are.

Harger says the demand for yoga has made some classes too big for a teacher to spot students who need modification.

New teachers too may be pushed to fast as well and not be experienced enough to recognize limitations.

“We have all the props. So I throw a bolster under there, a brick, and a blanket and here's a strap and here is this and here is that. And so we can use those different tools to help us. Get through a practice in a way that is helpful. And make the adjustments needed,” says Harger.

Harger says yoga is not a competitive sport although initially some students may approach it that way.

She says with time eventually students realize it doesn't matter what someone next to you is able to do, she says the practice is never ending and what you can do at that moment in class is where you need to be.

The best advice is to do your research, perhaps just observe a class, know your instructor and the facility and better yet, have some goals in mind.