Focus on your goals not on those around you 

In recent months I have come across numerous posts on social media regarding suitable exercises for strengthening the hip (bottom) musculature when you have an underlying hip pain. Posts were predominantly highlighting numerous Pilates and yoga-based exercises as potential aggravating movements. 

If you have a specific hip condition certain movements within these activities without modification can increase hip pain. Increased pain can lead to muscle inhibition and not strengthening. What we do know is that not all hips are the same and different hips and more suitable to some exercise more than others. 

Reading through the exercise modifications for the above activities I came across a study that surveyed injury rates in yoga and influencing factors attributing to the injuries. The findings I believe have implications across all forms of activity from gym classes, running, group exercise and Pilates. 

What is Yoga 

Yoga is an ancient form of exercise that originated in India approximately 5000 years ago. The practice is widespread and has been adapted in different countries with its popularity ever increasing. The cited benefits of yoga include increased strength, flexibility, and balance. It is also suggested that the practice can help manage pain, reduce stress, improve sleep and mood. Yoga is classed as a low impact non-contact activity but as with all exercise injuries and pain do occur. This can be attributed to underlying conditions and / or taking joints and tissues beyond their physiological range. 

The survey 

The survey of 2260 yoga practitioners predominantly from North America and Europe found that 55% of yoga practitioners had suffered a yoga related injury with the majority of injures reported as strains and sprains. Participants in this survey predominantly attributed their injury / discomfort to pushing themselves too far (self-inflicted) or by yoga teachers adjustments. Injuries were much more likely to occur (86%) when participants were performing the full expression of a pose (pushing to the limits), rather than a modified version. It in addition the survey found that the majority of these injuries occurred in a class setting rather than when performed individually. 

So, what can we take home from this?

  • Don’t compare yourself to others – Classes and groups have a variety of individual participants all with different goals, levels of flexibility, strength, and more importantly joint ranges. 
  • Don’t push into joint ranges that are painful (especially the hip)
  • Don’t push your limits to keep up 
  • We are driven to be competitive therefore focus on your own goals 
  • Don’t feel pressurised 
  • Do what you feel is comfortable 

Specific to the hip 

Yoga and Pilates are very popular activities that are predominantly undertaken in a group environment. Patients who suffer from hip pain coming from the joint for example osteoarthritis and femoral acetabular impingement can irritate the joint when undertaking any rotational and combined movements. If these movements are forced and repetitive without modification then it may reduce you exercise enjoyment, you may become disinterested or even stop attending. At Fay Pedler physiotherapy we can help and guide you through simple alterations in positions to keep you enjoying your activities.