Experts warn Instagram fuelling rise in yoga-related injuries

Whether you're a fan of flowing along to a 'Yoga with Adriene' Youtube video, or you prefer to head along to your local class, the positive benefits of yoga can be endless. 

But if you follow some of the most popular yogis on Instagram, you're probably bombarded with poses that look a lot more complex than relaxing. 

A peek at the hashtag 'yoga' reveals thousands of images of hyper-flexible people cranking into handstands or downward dogs in front of picturesque beaches or mountains. But apart from just being intimidating, it turns out some of these poses are actually dangerous. 

According to The Independent, experts are warning that both yoga mentees and instructors are falling victim to more injuries "because they are rushing into attempting challenging poses that will look good on social media". 

With a focus on aesthetics instead of form, yoga fans are developing niggles and long-term injuries, especially in their overworked hips. 

A 2016 US study revealed that yoga-related injuries have nearly doubled from 2001 to 2014. And according to a study published in the British Medical Journal last year, 64 percent of injuries acquired doing yoga occur in the lower half of the body, such as the hip, hamstring and knee.

British physiotherapist Benoy Mathew told The Independent social media has a lot to answer for, as inexperienced people try and force themselves into punishing positions. 

"When I first started seeing patients eight years ago, I would see around one yoga teacher every six months. But not I am seeing four to five every month," he says. 

"Social media has definitely contributed to this feeling of having to take it to the next level and that's purely for aesthetic reasons. 

"Just because you can get your head to touch the floor, you might manage to get an ego boost but it doesn’t necessarily mean you are going to have a huge health boost. You are just leaving yourself with more problems."

The key is to do a little research before hitting that Yogasana class. Instagram account  'How to practice yoga', which has 845,000 followers, shows safe ways to progress into poses, often using props for assistance. This Aaptiv article offers some advice on correctly getting into postures, too. 

Or head along to a local studio which focuses on safety and comfort over aesthetics.