People practice yoga every day because they reap the benefits of yoga, and rightly so, it can be assumed that it has a lot of positive impacts. But what mostly goes unnoticed are the complications of yoga.
Yoga is simple, but not unless you have mastered it or have given it some time and energy. Until then, it is rather complex and sounds like a foreign language that we do not understand.
There are multiple variations of yoga and many other derivatives of it where each has its benefits. However, yoga is very technical, thus, it is always strongly advised to learn yoga techniques under the supervision of a well-trained yoga teacher or spiritual guru.
That is where we answer your question. However, the answer is both yes and no. Yes, yoga has side effects if you don’t learn yoga under the supervision of a well-trained yoga teacher or spiritual guru. Likewise, the answer would be no, yoga doesn’t have any side effects if you learn yoga under the supervision of a well-trained yoga teacher or spiritual guru. In fact, learning yoga under good supervision will only give you its full benefits.
As for side effects, you are bound to run to a few contradictions here and there when you are practicing yoga. Most of these problems can be easily mitigated simply by asking your instructor for a change of pace of positions if you find yourself in case of discomfort.
Side Effects of Yoga When Done Without A Trainer
Here are some of the side effects and complications you might experience if you practice yoga without proper guidance.
1. Muscle pulls
We have all seen very flexible yogis and attribute hyper flexibility with yoga, and for good reason. There are a lot of advanced and even beginner yoga poses that require flexibility.
Dolphin Pose, Salabasana and Sphinx Pose are some very basic poses that require a certain level of flexibility. You could easily pull your muscles doing any of these poses if you push yourself beyond your limits.
2. Back Pain and Slipped Disc
Bharadvajasana, Bitilasana (cow pose), Marjaryasana (cat pose) are meant to ease back pain, however, when done incorrectly, it can cause further strain on your back. Forward bends can aggravate your condition if you have a pre-existing spinal injury or back pain, especially if you haven’t warmed up enough.
3. Aggravation of High Blood Pressure
Practice yoga and meditation is one of the best treatments for high blood pressure. However, a person with high blood pressure practicing the ‘breath of fire’ or forceful breathing and inversion poses can become counterproductive.
4. Ligament Tear
Ligaments are the fibrous connective tissue that holds two joints together, they also limit the movement of the joints. When practicing asanas, being flexible might be a goal but, it must be kept in mind that being too flexible means straining your ligaments. Unlike, muscle tissue ligaments take a long time to heal.
5. Stiff Neck and Pains
Head and shoulder stands can cause neck pain and injury, especially when done repeatedly and incorrectly over a long period. The incorrect placement of pressure is what causes the injury and can even further joint issues.
6. Wrist Pain
Poses like Vasisthasana (side plank), Adho Mukha Svanasana (downward-facing dog), Tadasana (mountain pose), tend to exert all of your body weight on to your wrist. This can eventually lead to ligament tear and further joint problems. Even bad alignment during these asanas can cause this issue.
7. Yoga with Glaucoma
Glaucoma is a condition in which there is increased ocular pressure and can eventually lead to blindness. Doing inversion poses like downward-facing dog or headstands dramatically increases the intraocular fluid pressure (IOP), which can be fatal to someone with glaucoma.
Despite no studies showing a direct correlation, it is known that increased IOP is a risk factor for the development and progression of nerve damage.
Vertigo is a sensation of feeling off-balance or more accurately, having a sense of spinning dizziness, as though the room or surrounding environment is spinning in circles around the person.
Yoga induced vertigo is one of the most common side effects seen in yoga practitioners of Vinyasa yoga. Asanas like headstand, Urdhva Dhanurasana (upward facing bow pose) can cause vertigo. Since these are inversion poses, it causes people to experience vertigo.
Should You Stop Doing Yoga?
By all means, these are not reasons to stop or find excuses to avoid your yoga classes. Definitely, you will find a risk factor in every activity you will indulge in your day to day life too. The lesson to take away here, for both yoga instructors and students is ‘to be a little cautious’. The positive aspects of yoga hugely outweigh the negative aspects, and the number of people practicing it every day will tell you that.
You can always find a teacher and a yoga form to your liking because you shouldn’t do yoga to impress someone else or follow someone else’s yoga goals, it should be focused on your needs. Also, when you find a yoga pose that is too difficult or uncomfortable for you, you should immediately call for your teacher, and take it slow.
Yoga treads on the duality of its positive and negative aspects, it depends on how the individual decides to proceed for which side to take over. The risks to yoga are the ones created only by improper practice or misinformation.
So, you should always make sure you let your instructor know about your pre-existing medical conditions and carefully practice your asanas, and if you find yourself in doubt, always ask your instructor.