Can Yoga Hurt You? Yes! Here’s how to put one together for use

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You wake up in the morning after a yoga practice and immediately notice that you feel a little stiff. How can this be, you ask. Can Yoga Hurt You?

Of course you can! If you have just returned from practice after a while away or have tried some postures that are not part of your regular routine, it is perfectly normal to feel sore after yoga. After all, the reason why a yoga practice feels so wonderful is because it can deeply stretch the muscles that you are not accessing in your daily life.

“You may think your muscles are active, but some yoga postures will still stretch them in unknown ways,” says yoga teacher Loren Fishman, MD, medical director of Manhattan Physical Medicine, author of Healing yoga, and the creator of the Yoga Injury Prevention Program. “Muscles can also hurt because they have been overused.”

The pain after yoga that you may be experiencing is called delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), which usually occurs 12 to 48 hours after exercise. The level of pain you can feel depends on the style you practice, how intense and how often, and your individual body type, says Fishman. And even if you’re an experienced yogi, there’s a good chance you’ll still feel sick from time to time. Although yoga is usually a low-impact exercise, it can strain your muscles.

See also: 8 postures to relieve back pain

“Yoga is full of eccentric contractions that cause microscopic damage to muscle and fascial tissue,” says Erica Yeary, MPH, RYT, an exercise physiologist and registered therapy specialist at Indian Medicine based in Indianapolis. “Our bodies produce an inflammatory response to these micro-tears and this causes muscle pain.”

But it turns out that this muscle soreness is really a good thing. “Once your muscles recover, you will experience improved muscle growth and performance,” says Yeary, and will eventually make you stronger.

Of course, if your pain after yoga is very painful, consult a doctor. But for regular pain, which means pain is minimal, there are many clever tricks you can try to relieve your discomfort. According to medical and yoga experts, here’s what to do and what to avoid to deal with muscle soreness and pain after yoga.

See also Anatomy 101: Orient the right muscles to protect the knees

11 things to do (and not do) to relieve post-yoga pain

moisturizer after yoga

Moisturize, then moisturize a little more.

Drink water, not sports drinks, says Amy C. Sedgwick, an emergency physician and yoga instructor certified by Yoga Medicine in Portland, Maine. “We want to help increase our blood volume so that this fluid can be more easily distributed to the tissues to allow the transfer of nutrition, heal cells and eliminate metabolic waste. Hydration is the way it goes.”

Get plenty of sleep.

Without sleep and rest, your body can’t “shrink” to allow the parasympathetic nervous system (mode of rest and digestion) to be at the forefront, Sedgwick says. “Without enough sleep, the neuroendocrine system will not prepare the body and tissues for repair and relief.”

DO NOT lower caffeine and energy supplements.

Unless you’re an ultra-endurance athlete, you’re probably not exhausting your system so much that you need caffeine, energy drinks, or supplements, Sedgwick says. “This just adds unnecessary calories and other substances to a body that just needs a smooth movement, hydration and rest,” he says.

Exercise, gently.

Exercise is the best way to relieve pain after yoga, says Sedgwick. In fact, research shows that doing the same muscle movements and sequences as before you feel sore, but in a less intense way, can help relax muscle spasms and allow muscles, connective tissue, and joints to meet. greater range of motion, he adds.

Test: This gentle 45-minute practice will give your body much-needed relief

foam winding

Use a foam roller.

Rolling the foam for 20 minutes immediately after exercise can reduce tenderness, even if it causes some discomfort, says Yeary. Take it easy and be kind; you don’t want foam running to cause so much pain that it actually makes your pain worse.

Eat a balanced meal.

Make sure your snack or post-workout meal includes protein, which repairs and builds muscle, and carbohydrates, which can help speed recovery, says Yeary.

See also: What to eat before and after yoga, according to the best nutrition experts

DO NOT take anti-inflammatory drugs.

It may seem like a smart idea to use aspirin to relieve pain after yoga, but it’s not the best way to help speed up your recovery, says Yeary. “Inflammation is how the body responds to any type of injury,” he says. “To properly repair any damaged tissue, you need to have inflammation. If you remove that inflammation with a medicine, you are hindering your body’s natural healing mechanisms.”

Take a hot bath.

Not only does this feel great, but it actually helps start the parasympathetic nervous system to reduce stress and allow the body to be in a state of healing, says Yeary.

yoga stretches, inverted triangle posture

DO stretch.

And when you do, be sure to stretch all your motion plans. This will increase circulation and range of motion while avoiding chronic tension and pain, Yeary says.

I will see: You will be ready to move after this brief series of spinal stretches

DO NOT do stretches.

Long, static stretches or excessive stretching of sore muscles can do more harm than good, says Yeary. “The tissues are already slightly damaged and working on healing.” If you stretch your muscles too much and “pull out” all their fluids, you reduce their ability to heal and you can even damage them in the process, he adds.

Keep practicing yoga gently.

One of the best ways to deal with pain after yoga is to do more yoga, says Fishman. “Focus on areas that hurt and try gradually relieving stress and strain, “he says.” Staying inactive because the activity causes you a little pain is a very bad response to your pain and will probably leave you with even more pain the next time you practice. “

See also: Benefits of Yoga: 38 Ways Your Practice Can Improve Your Life

About our collaborator

Gina Tomaine is a Philadelphia-based writer and editor The Philly Tarot Guidebook. She was the health and wellness editor Philadelphia magazine, and previously served as associate editor of Rodale’s Organic Life. His work can be seen at Women’s Health, The world of the runner, prevention, and elsewhere. More information at

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