Prevent Yoga Injuries: 3 Risky Poses You Can Make Safer

Here, we look at 3 of the “riskiest” poses generally practiced in yoga and how to modify them for you and your students’ safety. And it is mandatory that those with specific health conditions and concerns speak with a doctor before hitting the mat.


1. Headstand


While Sirsasana has the most known advantages of any pose, the inversion also has the most potential for deep injury if not supported properly by your shoulders, upper back, and arms. Let’s face it, your neck is precious and is not designed to hold the weight of your body direct.

Safe modification:

To receive the advantages of Headstand without the associated risks to your spine, practice Tripod Headstand (Sirsasana II) with the recourse of blocks under your shoulders to take all of the weight off your neck and head.

see also:


2. Shoulder stand

Salamba Sarvangasana

As a Yoga instructor, nothing makes me cajole more than a student throwing thyself up into Shoulder stand at the end of practice. The pose requires strong shoulder placement and an extremely open upper back that arguably very few (even advanced) students can execute safely without placing extreme pressure on their cervical spine and flattening their neck. Just like in Bridge Pose, there should not be a single vertebra touching the floor in Shoulder stand but instead a small underpass of light beneath the curve of your neck, enough space to slide a few fingers between the floor and your neck.

Safe modification:

Modify Shoulder stand by pile up blankets and bringing the tops of your shoulders to the edge of the blanket roll with the foundation of your skull on the floor keeping the natural curve of your neck.

see also:

lotus pose

3. Lotus Pose


Lotus Pose demands an outstanding degree of outer hip rotation, which is anatomically not possible for some bodies to achieve and should never be forced. The knee, an extensively less protected joint than the hip, takes the torque when the external rotation of the hips cannot be achieved.

Safe modification:

While Half Lotus Pose is a safe choice for some yoga students with limited hip rotation should sit in Sukhasana with the support of blankets.


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