HomeHealth articlesyoga injuriesWhat Are the Common Injuries Caused by Yoga Asanas?

Yoga is a physical activity that aligns the body, mind, and spirit. Read the article below to read more.

Written by

Dr. Dheeksha. R

Medically reviewed by

Shakti Mishra

Published At April 27, 2023
Reviewed AtApril 27, 2023


For various benefits such as fitness, reduction in stress, and physiotherapy, many people encourage yoga practice for physical and mental benefits. Even though yoga is said to be a low-impact physical exercise, people may be vulnerable to injuries without the proper performance of postures. These injuries develop over time due to improper practice of yoga postures.

What Is the Common Injury Caused by Yoga Asanas?

Overstretching is the most common injury caused. Most yoga injuries are not severe and unreported, but very few cause major issues like strain, sprain, fractures, and dislocations. Most yoga injuries develop over a long time due to overstretching and misalignment, resulting from the improper practice of yoga postures or yoga asanas. A simple way to prevent injuries while performing yoga is by practicing proper yoga postures and avoiding overdoing yoga.

What Are the Injuries Caused by Yoga?

  • Wrist: The wrist is a small joint commonly injured during yoga. Many yoga postures start with the wrist. Certain yoga postures like a downward-facing dog, plank, side plank, chaturanga, headstand, and crow use the balance of the wrist. If these yoga postures are not practiced properly, it causes wrist injury and wrist pain. Initially, warmup and gradually adding pressure on the wrist helps to prevent any injury or pain in the wrist instead of applying full pressure at once.

How to Prevent Wrist Injury?

There are some ways where the person can prevent the injury:

  1. Avoid cupping the palms and moving the fingers inward.
  2. Do not move the shoulder too forward past the wrist.
  3. Using props like a wedge rolled mat or towel takes the extra pressure from the wrist.
  4. Modify postures by placing the knees on the ground to strengthen wrists and shoulders.
  5. When a posture adds weight to the hands, distribute the body’s weight throughout both hands by spreading them wide and pressing through the fingers.
  • Lower Back: It is the most frequent injury caused due to rounding through the spine in yoga postures like forwarding folds and downward dog or placing the legs too straight while performing a posture. Disc problems or lower back muscle problems are caused due to rounding of the spine to flex in the opposite direction it supposes to. Over-stretching of the muscles in the lower back or forceful elongation of the muscles is the root cause of irritation and injury. People hurt the ligament below the lower back when one leg is in the air while performing certain postures like Warrior III or half moon.

How to Prevent Lower Back Injury?

This injury can be prevented by toning the legs while it moves, enhancing balance, strength, and stability. Balance and stability promise safety. Lengthening the spine away from the hips before hinging at the hips and bending down will help avoid rounding the spine. In the case of some yoga postures like seated forward fold, a blanket or block is used to take the pressure from the lower back.

Some Ways to Prevent Lower Back Injuries:

  1. Allow the lower back to decompress by bending the knees in a forward fold posture.
  2. Stay in a micro bend throughout the practice if necessary.
  3. Slow down while doing twists.
  4. Indulge the lower belly and the core strength, contributing to a strong and safe back.
  • Shoulders and Elbow: The most common injury encountered in yoga is repetitive strain and stress injuries (RSIs). These are musculoskeletal or nervous system injuries due to repeated or forceful motion. RSIs result from incorrect posture, spending more time in the posture, and overdoing the postures. Pain in the elbow is due to bending the elbows to the sides in postures like a low plank. Pointing the elbows outward can distribute the stress equally on the elbows and wrists. By raising the shoulder towards the ear, the person stops using the supporting muscles in the arms, shoulders, and neck. Even shrugging compresses the shoulder.

How to Prevent Shoulder and Elbow Injuries?

Place the elbows tucked alongside as the person bends them while performing a posture. If difficult, it can modify postures, and the person can start with the knees. The shoulder injuries can be prevented by not pulling too hard on the shoulders during stretches.

  • Knees: Many people experience knee pain and discomfort due to tight hips or pre-existing injuries. These pain are caused due to crossed-leg postures. Flexibility primarily depends on the flexibility of the hip; if the hip is tight, it extends stress and tension on the knees.

How to Prevent Knee Injury?

If persistent knee pain persists, avoid sitting crossed-legged for a long period. Placing props like blocks or rolled blankets beneath the knees helps to reduce the strain on the knees. During practicing low lungs, place a blanket or block beneath the knee. Any time the knee is bent should maintain a straight line from the bent knee to the heel; this indicates that the weight is equally distributed.

  • Hamstrings: Hamstring injuries are caused when the person folds forward without the front side of the body being contracted. When the front portion of the body stays stable, the hamstring feels safe, but when the hamstring stretches only from the back portion, the risk factor of injury is high. It usually occurs when an individual does too much stretching or the posture performed is not properly aligned or in control. It results in strain or pulled muscle caused by sudden moves.

How to Prevent Hamstring Yoga?

Downward-facing dog, warrior I, and crescent lunges are great postures to stretch hamstrings, but these should be performed at a slow pace. Any postures extending throughout the body's back should be avoided until the hamstring injury is healed.

  • Neck: Any yoga postures that cause pressure in the neck, such as shoulder stand and headstand, lead to compression and result in issues of cervical vertebrae. In some cases, it may result in loss of neck flexibility.

How to Prevent Neck Injury?

Can avoid complete inversion if a person suffers from chronic neck pain. Maybe these postures can be performed using blocks or blankets.

How to Prevent Injuries Caused by Yoga?

Proper alignment is the key to preventing yoga injury, but other factors play a major role. A few rules to be followed are:

  • Leave the Ego Outside: It can be tempting to attempt advanced postures but forcing and pushing the body is the root cause of injury. Yoga is a process of finding where the body is and is not the process of pushing the body to where it can not fit.
  • Warm-Up: Warm-up is a basic thing to be done before starting any physical activity. Normal stretches prepare the body for more advanced and challenging postures.
  • Ease In: Start with beginner-friendly postures that help to develop the foundation for more advanced postures. Do not go for the challenging postures immediately after starting a yoga practice.
  • Communication: Communicate with the instructors about any difficulties or previous injuries that may require posture modification. It helps people to perform yoga postures with confidence.
  • Slowly Come Out of Posture: If a person is holding in a posture for a long time, it is important to return to a neutral position very slowly and steadily.
  • Use Props: Certain yoga postures can be modified to make it comfortable for people to perform with any health issues. Props such as blankets, blocks, and rolled towels can be used.


Yoga is a good physical practice that aligns the body, mind, and spirit. It is known to be a low-impact exercise, even though it causes injuries. These injuries are commonly caused due to improper posture, overextending muscles, holding a posture for a long time, and forcing the body to perform certain movements. Some injuries are left unnoticed, whereas certain postures will cause severe problems like fractures, sprains, etc.

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Shakti Mishra
Shakti Mishra


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