This is International Day of Yoga, but Take it Easy, Doctors Warn

Today is the International Day of Yoga, and the fact that so many activities are geared to seniors has Dr. Frank Garcia worried that he'll have a busy day, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.

Dr. Garcia is a orthapaedic surgeon with the San Antonio Orthopaedic Group, and he says as yoga gains in popularity, injuries suffered by people who are attempting to get into the more challenging yoga poses are way up.

"We've seen a huge increase in folks who are older and are looking for an alternative way to stay physically fit, and may have bad knes and can't go out and run," Dr. Garcia says.

And as yoga takes off among seniors, reports of yoga injuries today are eight times what they were back in 2000.

Dr. Garcia says, first of all, don't treat yoga as an 'ironman triatholon,' because that's not what it was ever meant to be.

"Yoga is really not meant to be a 'crossfit' or a physical fitness fad," he said. "It started out in India as a spiritual and self awareness activity."

He says there are many aspects to yoga that do make it a useful activity to help seniors stay physically fit. He says many of the poses can help strengthen the legs, knees, and joints of people who may be suffering from age related conditions that make regular calesthenics painful or impossible.

But he says, take it easy, and choose your poses and activities carefully.

"Try to customize whatever you need and get that from that yoga," he said. "There are yogas are very slow, show type movements that are not very successful."

Dr. Garcia says, don't fold yourself into a pretzel right away, and try to stay away from the famous yoga 'headstand.' He says yoga is not a 'no pain, no gain' activity, and if you begin to feel pain, step away and choose another pose.

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