Is Yoga Safe? Is Yoga Safer Than Other Types of Exercise?

I haven’t been doing yoga for a very long time therefore I wasn’t even aware of the very traditional notion that yoga poses are supposed to be healing and yoga cannot harm you. I’ve always assumed that yoga would affect one as any other type of exercise would for better or worse. It turns out that it actually is the case. Reliable studies indicate that yoga is a physical exercise that could cause injuries in the way that any other type of exercise would when one does not pay attention to safety. It is neither more or less dangerous or safe than other physical practices, so there can be no such assumption regarding the inherent safety of yoga poses or practice.

A review concludes that “systematic review of randomized controlled trials of yoga found evidence that yoga is not associated with an increased frequency of intervention-related, nonserious, or serious adverse events or of dropouts due to adverse events compared with usual care or exercise.” (Cramer et al, 2015) That is to say, that yoga is not more dangerous than other types of exercise. Furthermore, “yoga was associated with an increased frequency of intervention-related, non-serious, and adverse events compared with psychological/educational interventions; interestingly, frequencies were comparable between groups for serious adverse events and dropouts due to adverse events.” (Cramer et al. 2015) This indicates that yoga can be as related to injury as any other exercise but probably expectedly, it is more related to injury than a psychological intervention, which really makes sense to me.

So, do yoga and be as cautious towards injury as you would be whilst doing any other exercise. Yoga is supposed to be a more mindful practice than other sports, exercises. Yet, it is easy to become the harshest judge of ourselves and start competing with ourselves for no other reason than becoming better at doing yoga poses. I reckon, the showing-off of perfectly executed yoga poses or pretentious quotes pasted on a photo of sunset do not help with the promotion of the personal and private practice. I think it is time to move on from that shallow and vulgar understanding of yoga practice in particular and exercise in general.

Ref:

Cramer, H., Ward, L., Saper, R., Fishbein, D., Dobos, G., & Lauche, R. (2015) The Safety of Yoga: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. Vol. 182 No. 4 DOI: 10.1093/aje/kwv071

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