When practiced in a mindful way– under the guidance of a good teacher and asking your body what is appropriate and only moving within that range of motion– yoga is extremely safe.
HOWEVER, this is not how most people practice, especially at first.
Practicing yoga without awareness/guidance can cause injuries to your body by:
–overstretching muscles, ligaments, or tendons
-putting too much stress on a joint
-causing nerve damage
Practicing yoga/meditation/pranayama (breathing exercises) can cause psychological discomfort in some people. People may experience emotional releases (crying, laughing, etc), for example, while practicing. For those with pre-existing psychiatric issues (schizophrenia, PTSD, etc), this can be uncomfortable or trigger flashbacks and anxiety.
Additionally, people with certain medical conditions (e.g. pregnancy, high or low blood pressure, glaucoma, retinal detachment) must modify certain poses and avoid others altogether.
See these tips for things to keep in mind for a safe and healthy practice.
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