While you can easily look up online the many benefits that come from yoga, including both the physical and mental attributes it can provide, people will rarely talk about the disadvantages, and while there aren’t many of them, it can still be worth knowing about, especially if you’re someone who is still unsure on whether you want to get into yoga.
There’s no doubt that yoga is designed to be a beneficial practice and one that can improve and enhance our state of consciousness while also facilitating our own personal growth, but that isn’t to say that it doesn’t come with its own risks, especially if you are rushing into it without taking the time to learn about how it works.
So that you know all about these potential risks, it’s time to take a deeper look into the lesser-known disadvantages of yoga that yogis of all skill levels should be aware of.
Is Yoga Good Or Bad For The Body?
The answer to this question would be based on a few different factors, however, it needs to be said that when yoga is performed the correct way so that it doesn’t irritate the bones and muscles in our body, and isn’t done too often, it is extremely beneficial.
Aside from the many emotional and spiritual benefits that can come from yoga, it can also help to reduce stress levels, contribute to a healthier heart, and work on strengthening certain parts of the body such as the core and glute muscles.
The danger comes when you are overworking your body and doing yoga too much (How much yoga is too much yoga? Find out here). The rule of thumb that many yoga instructors will tell you in your first few sessions is that yoga should only be performed between 2 to 5 times per week.
Some people can even do more than this, but recent research is showing that doing yoga every day can cause musculoskeletal pain, and can even worsen injuries rather than healing them.
There are a few other factors that can make yoga more dangerous than beneficial, such as the age of the person practicing it, and how a person performs the stretches since they could be putting too much strain on a certain bone or muscle.
Therefore, while yoga is usually considered good for the body, it can become more of a danger if it’s not done correctly and carefully.
The Biggest Disadvantages Of Yoga
As mentioned above, yoga is a very safe and hugely beneficial activity when it is performed correctly, but with that being said, there are still a few disadvantages even when it is being practiced the right way, along with there being a few downsides surrounding the activity itself.
Here are some of the main disadvantages that come with practicing yoga:
1. It Can Be Overwhelming To Learn
Many beginners will usually only imagine yoga as being a form of stretching exercise that can help relax the muscles and relieve any stress or tension that has built up in the body, and while this definitely isn’t wrong, this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to learning yoga.
While most people will be introduced to Hatha yoga in their yoga classes, this is just one of six different types of yoga that a person can learn, all of which contain their own unique stretches that provide their own benefits and are suitable for different environments and situations.
You then have the four yoga paths which are essential to know about so that a person can understand the intent and purpose of yoga, and on top of that, you also have the seven chakras which play a crucial role in yoga.
This isn’t to suggest that a person must learn all of these things, since you can simply stick with Hatha yoga if you wanted to, but in order to really understand the meaning and the wider benefits of yoga, everything mentioned here feeds into that, which for some people, can be a little too much information to learn.
2. Injury Risks In Power Yoga
Most yoga exercises will include slow and steady movements, and while these aren’t likely to cause injuries, if you follow power yoga for example, which is a lot faster and more active, it can be much easier to pick up or worsen any current injuries if you put too much pressure on an area of the body with low muscle strength.
This can also commonly happen with yoga routines that include frequent neck rotation which can end up injuring the vertebral arteries and can result in swelling and the production of blood clots.
Because of this, a person hoping to undertake a more energetic type of yoga always needs to ensure that they know how to do the exercises correctly. Having a supervisor always helps to ensure you don’t run the risk of hurting yourself during practice.
3. Hot Yoga
Indian-American guru Bikram Choudhury was the one who first made hot yoga famous, and while it’s only becoming more popular as time goes on, there are a lot of risks associated with it that make it one of the most dangerous forms of yoga to practice if proper care is not taken.
Hot yoga is a routine that consists of 26 different poses which are practiced in a hot environment of 40°C. The exercise is supposed to push the body to its absolute limit while performing each stretch, but it can also result in dehydration and heatstroke, especially for older yoga practitioners.
Blood vessel dilations and increased respiratory rates are also caused by the body being exposed to this level of heat for an extended period, and since it can also harm the heart and lungs, many yoga teachers would advise staying away from hot yoga entirely.
4. Osteoporosis And Glaucoma Complications
If you suffer from either of these two conditions, you won’t have to leave behind yoga entirely, but you should definitely speak to your instructor about adjusting some of the poses and positions to ensure you don’t get injured.
Osteoporosis is a condition that weakens bones, so applying all your pressure on an arm or a leg can put you at risk of picking up an injury. Glaucoma on the other hand is an eye condition that affects the optic nerve between the eye and the brain, which can lead to a loss of vision if it is damaged.
Yoga can make both of these conditions a lot worse, so you will need to modify your exercises to ensure they won’t cause you any further damage.
5. Issues With Religion
A big disadvantage of yoga is how troubling it can be to pursue for devoted followers of a religion, specifically those that worship a particular god (see also: “What Religion is Against Yoga?”).
For example, some Christians have taken issue with the fact that some Christian yogis have claimed to have experienced ‘salvation’ through Yoga, despite the fact that the Bible says this can only be received through God himself.
In a similar vein, some scholars have argued that those following Islam should not practice certain types of yoga movements, such as sun salutations, because they can be seen as a substitute for religious practices.
Yoga can therefore be much harder to accept for many devout religious followers and can sometimes be seen as less acceptable because of its spiritual teachings.
There are many mental, physical, and spiritual benefits that can come from yoga, but there’s no denying that it can be hard to get into, and can also be harmful to the body if not practiced correctly and with proper care, so it’s important to know about these disadvantages when you’re interested in learning it for yourself.