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Overbending in Yoga and Its Complications

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Yoga is a low-impact exercise that demands bending and stretching. The below article focuses on complications due to overbending during yoga and its prevention.

Medically reviewed by

Shakti Mishra

Published At May 17, 2023
Reviewed AtMay 19, 2023


Yoga includes stretching and bending different body parts to improve flexibility, endurance, and strength. Yoga postures include forward and backward bending poses. In forward bending postures, the upper body moves towards the lower body part. Backbends involve opening up the front body and bending backward to increase flexibility and improve the strength of the backbone.

What Are the Benefits of Bending Asanas?

There are many benefits of practicing forward and backward bending postures in yoga:

  • Stretches and strengthens the muscles.

  • Improves posture.

  • Improves blood circulation.

  • Reduces pain and strain, especially back pain.

  • Improves breathing.

  • Relieves stress and anxiety.

  • Boosts mood.

What Are the Complications of Over Bending in Yoga?

Doing the backbend poses the wrong way can cause injuries and pain.

  • Wrist Pain: Doing the bending asanas usually requires the wrist's support. Doing it incorrectly by putting more body weight on the wrist, hands, or shoulders can cause wrist injury and pain. Increasing core strength and practicing balancing the body weight will help to correct the mistake. Serious wrist injuries have to be treated before continuing with the exercise.

  • Back Pain: People may experience lower or mid back pain when overbending is done. It happens when more effort is put in while bending without doing it slowly and gradually. Overbending can apply more bending force on the spine, causing back pain. The pain can be vague to sharp and pinchy.

  • Neck Pain: If the head and neck are not aligned properly, the neck may gradually start aching. Wrong posture puts more stress and strain on the neck, causing injury and pain.

  • Elbow and Shoulder Pain: The inability to balance the body while doing bending poses may put more weight on the arms, causing injury or pain in the elbow and shoulder. The shoulder joints may also start showing the symptoms.

  • Knee Pain: If the positioning of the knees gets incorrect or the knee gets excessively stretched while bending, alignment alteration can occur, leading to injury and pain to the joint.

  • Yoga Butt: Yoga butt is a non-medical term for hamstring tendinopathy. It is the inflammation of the tendon (the attachment of the muscle to the bone) at the back of the thigh and occurs due to repetitive stress applied to the area. As a result, the person may feel dull aching pain around the buttocks, lower leg, knee, and thigh. The other symptoms include leg stiffness, sharp pain on stretching, swelling, and weakness.

  • Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS): DOMS is a minor muscle injury experienced after any exercise. It can show symptoms like pain, muscle stiffness, and sometimes swelling. If overbending or overstretching is done while performing yoga, delayed onset muscle soreness may get advanced and persist. DOMS is normal, but if the symptoms become severe or stay longer, it is essential to consult a medical professional.

  • Compression Fractures: Compression fractures are small breaks in the bones in the spine and the vertebrae. It is commonly seen in women after their 50s. Due to menopause-related changes, bone density decreases (osteoporosis) in aged females, and the bones become more susceptible to fractures. Overbending while performing yoga at this age group can cause compression fractures, as the bones are usually thin.

How to Prevent Complications Due to Over-Bending in Yoga?

The following are the methods to prevent complications caused by overbending in yoga:

  • Taking It Slow: Taking things slow will be helpful to prevent injuries. Beginners can get guidance from an instructor to learn about postures. Attending one-on-one sessions with the trainer can be considered in the beginning until the person adapts to the routine.

  • Getting a Qualified Teacher: With the growth of social media, so-called 'influencers' have started releasing videos about health and exercises based on their knowledge. Instead of blindly following such content, taking assistance and classes from a well-qualified yoga instructor will be helpful. Knowledge gained in such a way will always be an asset as it can be applied throughout life.

  • Overdoing Is Dangerous: Comparing others and setting unrealistic goals are the main factors tempting a person to overdo yoga. Yoga poses need time and patience to become a part of one's life. Overdoing all of a sudden will not be beneficial but only injurious.

  • Avoiding Complex Postures: Avoiding trying out challenging postures is a thoughtful step in preventing yoga injuries. Yoga asanas can be learned gradually one after the other and not by directly jumping onto the most esthetic but complex-looking pose.

  • Using Props: Yoga props are the tools that make yoga postures more comfortable. Yoga blocks, straps, pillows, and blankets are examples of yoga props. These tools will help the person access the yoga poses with more ease. Help from the instructor is necessary to learn the method of usage of the props.

  • Listening to What Body Needs: Everyone has a different range of flexibility and strength. Listening to one's body is vital while performing any exercise. If the body starts showing symptoms related to an injury, it is necessary to pause or temporarily stop doing that particular asana. Taking advice from the yoga educator and the doctor is essential in such cases.

  • Mixing up the Workouts: Mixing up yoga with other forms of workouts or doing different forms of yoga can also be helpful to make the session enjoyable and to prevent injuries due to overdoing.

  • Considering Age: Aging is related to bone and muscular changes. Doing yoga in old age can bring joy and health. But, care has to be taken while doing every pose, as even minor injuries may take a prolonged time to get rectified in older people. Getting medical advice along with help from a yoga instructor is required in the case of seniors.


Yoga is the best way to restore mental and physical health. But injuries can happen if it is performed highly more than what the body needs. Being patient to face slow progression is essential to get the benefits of yoga. Otherwise, it may lead to severe complications, which can even affect the quality of life. Slow progress is still progress and is better than regress.

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Shakti Mishra
Shakti Mishra


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