Yoga can lead to hip injuries in women
YOGA might be a popular form of exercise among many, but experts warn that it could harm women more than men.
Women's ability to stretch more and do extreme bends could result in serious wear and tear on their hips, reported The New York Times.
The chronic stress could develop into agonising pain and, in some cases, the need for urgent hip repairs, said Hawaiian yoga teacher Michaelle Edwards.
In comparison, men are known to be less flexible than women and too often use their muscles to force themselves into challenging poses, which result in injury.
However, the overall numbers are relatively small, but large enough to argue that men who practise yoga should also exercise caution.
In a report in CBC News from Canada, Dr Reza Awan - a sports-injury specialist in Toronto who uses yoga for rehabilitation - said that while injuries to the lower back, knees and wrists are more common, hip injuries can be more significant and may need surgery.
Dr Bryan Kelly, an orthopaedic surgeon at the Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan, said yoga postures were well known for throwing hips into extreme positions: "If (those are) done without an understanding of the mechanical limitations of the joint, it can mean trouble."
Women's hips showed particular vulnerability. By nature, their pelvic regions support an unusually wide range of joint play that can increase not only their proficiency in yoga, but also their health risks.
The investigators found that extreme leg motions could cause the hip bones to repeatedly strike each other, leading to damaged cartilage, inflammation, pain and crippling arthritis over time.
Gentle yoga probably helps the hips. But, as Dr Michael Taunton, an orthopaedic surgeon at the Mayo Clinic, puts it, constant bending can become "too much of a good thing".
Ms Edwards warned yoga practitioners to be cautious if doing seated forward bends, standing forward bends and forward lunges.