Is Yoga Safe?

Last week the Mayo Clinic published the results of an excellent, first of its kind, study focused on injuries sustained in yoga practice, with a primary objective of identifying poses that should be avoided or modified by people who have osteoporosis and osteopenia. Read the article here.

For the 89 study participants, they reviewed medical records from 2006 to 2018 and classified injuries in three categories: soft tissue (muscles and fascia), non-bone injuries in the spine, and bone injuries in the spine.

The study authors found that most injuries were related to extreme forward folding or back bending positions. These 4 postures were reported to have caused the majority of the injuries:


The most reported injuries included:

  • muscle strain

  • exacerbation of pain in people with degenerative joint disease

  • exacerbation of pain in people with facet athropathy (arthritis of the joints on the back side of the vertebra)

  • vertebral compression fractures

  • anterior wedging (the wearing down of the front edges of the vertebra resulting in "wedge-shaped" vertabra)

  • spondylolisthesis (slipping vertabra)

While this list of injuries might sound scary, from the perspective of a yoga teacher, all of these are avoidable with smart yoga instruction and well-educated students.

In fact, the authors of this study do not recommend that people should stop practicing yoga. Rather, they recommend that doctors should be "aware that yoga, as with any exercise, is not a completely harmless activity that can be performed with abandon". They note that injuries can occur, especially in older patients with age-related degenerative changes and other connective tissue disorders.

They further recommend that yoga students modify their poses to accommodate their physical limitations. They explain that as "the body changes over time, exercise regimens need to be modified to protect the spine, shoulders, hips, and other musculoskeletal structures."

At The Yoga Room, we specialize in customizing the yoga practice to suit the practitioner. Our small class sizes allow us to know our students and keep an eye on them to make sure they are practicing in a way that is safe, appropriate, and beneficial. Our Individual Instruction is even more customized in that we design the practice to address the goals and needs of an individual person.

If you'd like to know HOW we modify our teaching to suit our students, check out this Facebook Live video Adria and I recorded yesterday. We demonstrate and discuss two popular postures and how to modify them to suit your body.

And if you'd like to learn more about how you can help keep yourself safe, strong, and flexible in your yoga practice, please stay tuned for next week's newsletter!

As always, we welcome your questions and comments. Please email us at

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A Special Note About Safety

I'm sending you an extra note this week to let you know about a vehicle burglary that occurred in our parking lot yesterday evening.

A member of our community's car was broken into while she was in class at the studio and some of her belongings were stolen.

While we're very happy no one was hurt, we know how scary, disruptive, and costly an occurrance like this can be.

We'd like to take this time to remind everyone in our community to be mindful of your safety.

Round Rock seems like such a safe city, but even still, we should exercise caution whenever we're out. The Round Rock Police Department recently posted a note on their Facebook page about an increase in the number of vehicle burglaries this year.

Please remember to:

  • Be alert - always walk with keys in hand and be aware of your surroundings
  • Consider walking with a buddy
  • Hide your valuables
  • Report any suspicious activity

That said, we are assured by Round Rock PD that our neighborhood is typically a very safe place, and for our peace of mind they will be increasing patrols around our building.

We take your safety very seriously. Please don't hesitate to contact me with any concerns.