We are constantly encouraged to practice every day, whether it is soccer, music or yoga. When we do something every day it becomes part of who we are, not just what we do.
With yoga postures there is some danger in practicing the same postures everyday, especially if you are not under the watchful eye of an expert teacher, and especially if you practice in heat.
When we do physical exercise we damage our muscles. This is how they become stronger and more flexible. When our bodies repair the damage, it regenerates stronger than before. When we practice the same postures every day, we damage the same muscles in the same way before they have had time to heal. If we compound this over weeks or months we can do serious damage to the muscles and tendons that attach them. And yes, stretching does as much damage as strengthening.
The danger of injury is greater if we practice with poor form or alignment. If we are not using our muscles, joints and tissues the way they are intended, the damage will be greater and quicker. If we practice under the direct guidance of a master teacher, they will ensure that we are using our bodies correctly, thereby decreasing the likelihood that we will become injured from misuse.
Practicing in heat makes muscle and tendon damage more likely. Heat loosens the muscles and numbs the nerve receptors that usually tell us when the muscle has reached its limit. When we practice in heat we should back off of our effort and depth to protect our bodies.
We can still practice yoga everyday, and we should. We can simply exercise different parts of the body. Focus on standing postures one day, stretching postures the next, and maybe inversions on the third. This way, when we return to the same postures, our bodies have had a chance to heal and strengthen.
This journal honors my ongoing experience with the practice, study and teaching of yoga.
1) Sridaiva Yoga: Good Intention But Imbalanced
2) Understanding Chair Posture
2) Why I Don't Use Sanskrit or Say Namaste
3) The Meaningless Drudgery of Physical Yoga
5) Beyond Bikram: Why This Is a Great Time For Ghosh Yoga