It is said a lot about benefits of different workouts. But are all of them safe, or can workout be harmful?

Yes it can and there are many physical activities (including yoga poses done not correctly) which may lead to harmful consequences for one’s health.  Basically strong twists (with use of external forces), deep back bending, and an overload of vertebrae should be avoided.

But what is the danger beyond those activities?

If the workout is not spine friendly, one or several vertebrae can shift for a fraction of a millimeter (up to 2 mm). If this shifting is less than 1mm, a human being may sometimes even not feel anything. Only sitting still for a long time he/she may have an unpleasant feeling in that area of the back. This happens because one or several nerves got overdistended or pinched as a result of vertebra shifting. Thus, distortion of the nervous signal takes place that leads to malfunction of the organ that the pinched or overdistended nerve is responsible for. Malfunction can develop into somatic disease if the vertebra is not placed back or the compensative asana is not used.

It is even more dangerous if a vertebra shifts further, for example, whilst performing a contraindicated asana. Then the nerve gets pinched even more and it may cause the nerve to stop functioning as a conduction tract for the impulses of the central nervous system. Sometimes dystrophic changes of the nerves can take place in such cases. They can become irreversible in the course of time if a person does not seek the help of professionals or does not try to deal with it him/herself finding certain body positions in which the nerve gets released. If worse comes to worst destructive changes in the organ up to its atrophy can take place.

p. 41, Anatoliy Pakhomov (2013)Hatha Yoga: Correct Approach to the Spine (CAS)


The table beside depicts relation between spinal regions and organs connected to the spinal marrow, and different illnesses and dysfunctions caused by vertebrae shifts. Each dysfunction is related to specific spinal area where nerve root is compressed by vertebral bone.

The conclusion is pretty obvious: one’s health is very much dependant on physical activities one uses for workout and in daily life. Inappropriate movement can cause vertebrae shift and be a reason of organism dysfunctions, various aches and chronic illness




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