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Coolguy97's avatar

Why is Yoga so painful?

Asked by Coolguy97 (73points) 1 week ago

I was with my aunt yesterday and she recommends that I do yoga to relax and meditate. So it’s the evening and we start with the Downward Facing Dog and then the Triangle Pose. The seated forward pose and the Upward Facing Dog and even the Dolphin pose were painful.

Yet my aunt can do the poses incredibly easily and considers them relaxing. She’s been doing yoga for over 20 years and is 60. I felt terrible as I’m 5’4 with a slender and athletic build. I’m only 95 lbs. She on the other hand is 6 feet with longer limbs and felt that should practice yoga so that it isn’t painful

So the question is should I continue with yoga or will I continue to hurt my back and spine. My 1st time trying yoga I didn’t see it as meditation but rather a painful workout.

Btw she’s not my biological aunt but my dads brothers wife. Though she has the same build as me only 8 inches taller.

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10 Answers

Caravanfan's avatar

Any exercise can be painful if you’re not used to it and not trained for it.

JLeslie's avatar

I have never been limber. When I was 5 years old I couldn’t touch my toes like all of the other girls and we were all taking ballet and we stretch every time in class. I also took gymnastic where stretching was part of the regimen.

If you work at stretching you can become more limber, but I guess each of us has a limit to how long we can lengthen a muscle and how our joints are constructed. You can probably get better than you are now, but maybe never to the point where your aunt is. It’s worth working on becoming more limber and strengthening muscles, because it helps protect you from injury in general. Is it a beginner class?

You shouldn’t be injuring yourself. Only stretch when you’re warm. To hold poses you might need time to build up strength. Don’t try to be at the same level as people who have been doing it for years, modify where necessary.

I’m envious of people who enjoy yoga. It seems to be a whole lifestyle. Most of them are very fit and slim and seem very calm.

I don’t enjoy yoga because I don’t come anywhere close to being able to do it well. I prefer other exercises.

Smashley's avatar

The meditation/spirituality part of yoga is kinda dumb, and part of the woowoo magic theories many people have about yoga. I meditate in yoga no more than running, lifting weights or fishing. That is to say, if you can get to a point where you are comfortable enough going through the motions that it doesn’t distress you to practice, your mind will find a calm place to go while you pump in the endorphins.

To me, yoga is a badass workout, based in hard work, routine, and maintaining control of mind and body. It’s practitioners tend to reflect those virtues, though there is certainly some virtue signaling and weird hierarchical culture sometimes. People can be silly, or take themselves way too seriously (especially considering how much yoga makes you fart).

Separate the workout from what you think about yoga and people who do yoga. Yoga often comes with a certain culture, but you really don’t need to buy into all that, if it doesn’t feel right to you.

Yoga is relatively low risk for injury. The pain you feel is the pain referenced in the saying “No pain, no gain.” It will improve with time/practice. Your body type may not allow you to be a famous yoga superstar, but you can still gain a lot from the workout.

ragingloli's avatar

It is because you are not used to it.
Your muscles and tendons are petriefied from decades of barely moving, so when they are suddenly strained, of course it is going to be painful.
It is similar to not stretching and warming up before a workout: next day you will be sore and everything hurts.

JLeslie's avatar

Stretching immediately after a workout reduces soreness the next day.

KRD's avatar

Probably because your not use to it. To get use to yoga try doing a little every day.

Dutchess_III's avatar

^^^ * you’re *

Jeruba's avatar

It’s not the yoga, it’s your stiffness. The sudden use of muscles that have been idle is usually painful. The same would happen if you suddenly started bicycling or climbing a mountain. (But with yoga, you really have to work harder to fall off of something.)

The word “practice” has real relevance here.

Look at a book or a video to see what poses are best for gentle warmups and start there. Do a little at a time, learn what flows into what, and stop when something hurts. Yoga is not about forcing.

It seems ideal to me as a practice that can challenge the expert long-time practitioner and still offer an easy, gentle way in for the beginner.

dabbler's avatar

All the yoga postures, asanas, can be uncomfortable at first. That is not unusual if you are a typical person who spends a lot of time in the same position, seated with a screen in front of you.
Be patient, practice the postures you have learned daily if possible to get more comfortable with them. It could take a couple weeks.

Also, warm up! Did you learn the Sun Salutation? That is a yoga warmup sequence that can prepare you for the asanas. It’s a great compact stretching workout by itself, but sets a good tone for a proper asana sequence.

@Smashley does not understand mediation. It’s not something for your mind to do while exercising. Asanas are designed to calm and energize the body to prepare for meditation. Meditation is a serious power tool for mental activity. Controlling the mind is necessary for overcoming things like anger, fear, hatred, jealousy, and for getting focus on things that are important in like.

Smashley's avatar

@dabbler Got it. Sorry, didn’t know I was meditating wrong.

I guess I meant “while exercising or doing another controlled or difficult thing for an extended period of time, you may achieve a state of mental relaxation that can be beneficial to your overall mental health and sense of satisfaction. Combined with the happy body chemicals associated with exercise, this state can produce mood elevating benefits that last beyond the duration of the activity.”

Or you could go and “meditate” (whatever that is) after the yoga, since all that work is just warm up, apparently.

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