You know yoga is great for you (just check out these 9 reasons why you should practice yoga for proof.) From the mental benefits like lower stress to the physical ones like improved flexibility and injury prevention, pretty much every dude should check his ego and get his 'om' on.
But, despite what you may think about the practice as a whole, it can actually be quite difficult—and sometimes even dangerous. Case in point: A 38-year-old man recently broke his femoral shaft—that’s his thigh bone—attempting to execute Marichyasana posture B, according to a recent report in BMJ Case Reports. You can see what it looks like here—but basically it could also be called the “human pretzel pose.”
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“It was during this unassisted stance at his morning yoga class that he heard a loud cracking sound and felt immense pain in his femur. He collapsed to the ground, was unable to weight bear and was immediately brought to hospital by ambulance,” the reports states.
But, was this a freak accident or something regular guys should worry about?
First, know that this type of injury is super uncommon—usually only seen as a result of car crashes (your odds? 10/100,000.)
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The report states that yoga injuries in general, however, are not that uncommon, but that they’re usually minor ligament or muscle strains that heal on their own. But, as with any sport or physical activity, things do happen unfortunately, says Tanya Boulton, a yoga teacher at Pure Yoga in New York City and co-founder of tanya-b. But, that's not to say you shouldn't do it. “As yoga becomes more and more popular there should be some guidelines as to how to approach the practice to keep it safe and sustainable,” she says.
Here are three ways to stay safe in yoga so you can reap all the rewards without snapping your thigh bone in half—or sustaining any other more minor injury.
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Oh, and as for the dude who fractured his thigh bone? He was sent home from the hospital 10 days after the incident and walking almost pain-free five months later—and back to practicing yoga, albeit practicing “less strenuous postures,” per the report.
Don't ever force yourself into postures.
“I see this all the time and of course your body will snap if you force it to do something it doesn't want to. Yoga is not a sport...it's a spiritual practice so "no pain no gain" doesn't work in yoga,” says Boulton.
Make your breath the most important part of your practice.
“If you focus on breathing and being present then you will work with yourself in a way that is healthy and aligned with where your body is at here and now,” says Boulton.
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Hit the beginner’s class.
“It's best to learn basics, step by step then go to something where you might feel discouraged and force yourself into something your are not ready to do," says Boulton.