Medical Contraindications for Yoga Poses

yoga pose contraindication Medical Contraindications for Yoga Poses southampton teacher training

Ever looked for a Yoga Pose Contraindication Fact Sheet?

Yep, me too ! After a quick google search looking for an easy reference document on contraindications for yoga poses, I found nothing that would work as a one sheet reference card, so I created one myself. I hope you will use this simple straightforward guide created for yoga teachers enabling you to support your students with confidence when they present with a yoga pose contraindication. Print Medical Contraindications for Yoga Poses Worksheet.

Yoga students come to class with a variety of physical conditions and in most cases common sense combined with controlled and pain free range of movement will keep yoga students safe in your class. But there are a few medical conditions and injuries for which certain yoga poses are contraindicated and other poses would be particularly beneficial.

For example, contraindications for:

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome – Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is a medical condition due to compression of the median nerve as it travels through the wrist at the carpal tunnel. The main symptoms are pain, numbness, and tingling, in the thumb, index finger, middle finger, and the thumb side of the ring fingers.

Find out from your student how it feels to bare weight on the hands and wrists

Poses to avoid: Handstand, wheel

Poses to practice with caution: Downward Facing Dog, Plank, Chataranga

Hamstring Injury – If your hamstrings are weak and tight, they’ll tug on your hips – tipping them forward – and compromise functional movement. Often hamstring tightness is indicative of weakness, so make sure to include some hamstring strengthening as well as stretching in your yoga sequencing.

Depends how recent and how acute, if acute and recent 

Poses to avoid: Downward Dog, Hanumanasana, Forward Bend

Recommended poses to practice:  Locust, Hamstring curls

So print of this PDF, laminate it and keep it in your teaching bag.  This is by no means an exhaustive list but it covers what I have commonly experienced during my 8 years of teaching yoga in Southampton.

Maybe you have an established yoga practice already and want to deepen your knowledge. Feel free to print this for yourself to reference at home. If you would like to learn more, you could sign up to Laura’s Mentoring Programme, join Laura in class or if you are interested in a  200 Hour Yoga Alliance Professionals Accredited Teacher Training Course, Laura is taking applications for the 2019 training course located in Southampton.




Yoga Relief for Neck & Shoulder Tension

Yoga Southampton Neck Shoulder Pain

As a Yoga Teacher in Southampton the most common grumble I hear from my students is neck and shoulder tension plus referred pain such as headaches. I’m always diving into my yoga tool box for the perfect yoga poses and yoga relief for neck and shoulder tension.

Neck and shoulder tension can be a source of much frustration for many of us. So often, especially at the end of a long hard day we really “feel” our neck and shoulders and this is just the time to get yourself to a yoga class in Southampton. The most common cause of neck and shoulder pain is stress, either emotional or physical stress, or sometimes just a combination of both.  With hectic lifestyles and the constant strain of stress our physical bodies often pay the price.

The trapezius muscle group, which runs from your neck to shoulders, carries the most stress of anywhere in your body but what causes this tension?


Yoga Southampton Neck Shoulder Pain

Common Causes for Shoulder and Neck Pain


We often carry emotional stress which manifests itself in our physical bodies as muscular pain

Pulled muscles

Moving too quickly, or placing undue physical stress on the muscle can cause tears and pain

Bad Posture

Sitting or standing, with the head slightly forward, can cause stress on the trapezius muscle group. We call this the computer chin which juts forward.


Carrying an object that puts strain on the muscle can result in aches and pains. Examples are bras, backpacks, or shoulder bags.

Holding positions

Positions that are held for a period, consistently, can cause stress in the trapezius muscle group, computer monitors in the wrong position or sleeping in the wrong position, are a few of the most common reasons.

 Yoga Poses to relieve Shoulder and Neck Pain

Using Yoga as tool to relieve physical and emotional stress is just one of the many ways we can heal ourselves. Taking the time to relieve the stress of shoulder and neck pain can help to feel rejuvenated in the whole body.

Try thYoga Southampton Neck Shoulder Painis short video with yoga poses from Neck & Shoulder Tension. This video is just 6 mins long, try doing it daily for a week and see what happens . . .

If you’d like to learn and experience more I’m teaching a 2 Hour Yoga Workshop for Neck and Shoulder Tension in Southampton on Saturday 7th October at 10am. More information here.


Saluting the Sun ~ Surya Namaskar

Yoga Sun Salute Southampton Surya Namaskar

That most familiar of asana sequences, Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation) is as rich in symbolic and mythic overtones as it is in physical benefits. In many cultures, light has long been a symbol of consciousness and self-illumination. Our primary source of light is, of course, the sun. Moreover, since everything that exists originates from the sun, as Alain Danizlou wrote in The Myths and Gods of India, it “must contain the potentiality of all that is to be known.”

One of the means of honouring the sun is through the dynamic asana sequence Surya Namaskar (better known as Sun Salutation). The Sanskrit word namaskar stems from namas, which means “to bow to” or “to adore.” Each Sun Salutation begins and ends with the joined-hands mudra (gesture) touched to the heart. This placement is no accident; only the heart can know the truth.

History Surya Namaskar

There’s some disagreement among authorities over the origins of the Sun Salutations. Traditionalists contend that the sequence is at least 2,500 years old, that it originated during Vedic times as a ritual prostration to the dawn. Skeptics of this dating maintain that Sun Salutation was invented by the Raja of Aundh in the early 20th century. However old the Sun Salutation is, and whatever it may originally have looked like, many variations have evolved over the years including the most well known variations of Surya Namaskar A and Surya Namaskar B as popularised by Pattabhi Jois in his system of Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga.

A Daily Practice

Success with Sun Salutation, as with all aspects of yoga practice, depends on commitment and regularity. An everyday practice would be best, but you might at first aim for four times a week. Sun Salutations can be used as a warm up before the main bulk of your asanas but if time is short practicing Sun Salutations followed by savasana can be a complete yoga practice. You can practice anywhere for 3 – 108 rounds.

You can pace the sequence briskly to generate heat and cleanse the body-mind, or more moderately to create a moving meditation. Since the sequence is, in essence, a humble adoration of the light and insight of the self, it’s essential to practice Sun Salutation in a spirit of devotion and with your awareness turned always inward toward the heart. Make each movement as mindful and precise as possible, especially as you near the end of your rounds, when fatigue can lead to sloppiness.

Benefits of Surya Namaskar

The practice of Surya Namaskar has a myriad of benefits both in the long term and the immediate. In truth, the best way to understand these benefits is to discover them for yourself through a regular practice and reflection. Yet to summarise the commonly accepted benefits include:

  • Stretch and strengthen the entire body improving posture and easing muscular problems.
  • Boost the immune system through improving blood and lymphatic fluid circulation and respiration.
  • The controlled rhythmic breathing throughout strengthens the lungs and pulmonary function improving general levels of fitness.
  • Improving cardiovascular fitness for long term heart health.
  • The weight baring postures improve bone health and density helping to prevent disorders such as Osteoporosis.
  • Boosts the endocrine system, central nervous system and autonomic nervous system.
  • Improved strength and flexibility of the spine. There is a saying in Yoga: “you’re as young as your spine is healthy”.
  • Reduces feelings of fatigue and lethargy developing a more optimistic and positive mindset.
  • The subtle energy channels (nadis) are unblocked, allowing energy to flow freely throughout the body, re-establishing the balance of energies.
  • Builds internal heat (agni) which boosts the metabolism and digestive fire.
  • Becomes a movement meditation with both focuses and calms the mind.
  • Eases anxiety and reduces stress levels.

To help you get started with an easy daily practice or warm up sequence, follow my video on Sun Salutes.



10 Perfect Yoga Poses for Beginners

DownwardFB Facing Dog

Starting anything new can be really daunting and the same goes for yoga.  There are so many different postures, with weird names that it can be really hard to know where to start. To know what yoga poses are safe to try as a beginner that don’t require you to have the flexibility of an elastic band and to be able to put your leg behind your head. I mean it can be challenging to even touch your toes sometimes!  So let’s make it nice and simple, these are the top 10 yoga poses for Beginners based on my years of experience teaching beginners yoga classes and beginners yoga courses in Southampton (see below for details of upcoming 6 Week Beginners Yoga Course in Southampton and Eastleigh).




Child’s Pose – A Back Stretch & Resting Pose

Beginners Yoga Childs pose

From hands and knees, bring your feet together and separate your knees about hips distance apart. Sit your hips back to your heels and relax your chest down between your legs. Relax your head to the ground and breath deep. Focus on softening the muscles in your lower back, resting and relaxing.

Cobra Pose – Improves flexibility in the upper back and stretches the chest and the shoulders.

Beginners Yoga Poses Cobra

Start lying on your tummy, place your hands on the floor fingers in line with your chest. Focus on drawing your chest forwards and up whilst keeping your hips on the floor and your shoulders down. Don’t try and lift up too high, you don’t want to feel any discomfort in your lower back but instead and engagement of the muscles between your shoulders blades.

Downward Facing Dog – A back and hamstring stretch

Beginners Yoga Poses Downward Facing Dog

This is a great all round posture stretching the back, hamstrings and calves whilst strengthening the arms and the shoulders. From all fours lift up into this upside down ‘V’ shape. Your feet are hip distance wide apart and your hand shoulders distance. Straighten your arms and push the ground away with your arms as you stretch your hips up and back. It’s OK to have a soft bend in your knees and focus instead on straightening and lengthening through your back.

Low Lunge – A Hip Stretch

Beginners Yoga Poses Low Lunge Pose

From Downward Facing Dog, step your right leg between your hands and lower your left knee to the floor. Make sure your right knee stacks above your ankle and that your back leg it extended far behind, stretching the hip flexor of this back left leg. Inhale and lift your chest up with your arms extended above your head. Hold for 3-5 breaths before repeating on your other leg.

Warrior 2 – A Pose of Strength & Focus

Beginners Yoga Warrior 2

This powerful posture strengthens the thighs, tones the arms and stretches the hips whilst bringing focus and clarity to the mind. Standing at the top of your mat, take a large step backwards and turn the back foot out to a 90 degree angle. Line up the heel of your front foot with the arch of your back foot. Bend your front knee over your ankle. Raise your arms to shoulder height, palms face down. Turn to look over the front arm. Hold 3-5 breaths before repeating on the other leg.

Triangle Pose – A Whole Body Stretch

Beginners Yoga Poses Triangle

From Warrior 2 pose, straighten your front leg, careful not to over straighten though, keep the back of the knee soft. Reach forward, then lower your front arm to the shin of the front leg and reach your top arm skywards. Turn your chest to face the long edge of the mat. Hold for 3-5 breaths before repeating on the other side.

Tree Pose – A Balancing Posture

Beginners Yoga Poses Tree Pose

From standing, shift your weight onto your right leg. Lift your left leg, bend your knee and place the foot either on the inside thigh of your standing leg or the calf (don’t place the foot on the standing leg knee). Stand tall and extend your arms overhead. Focus your gaze on one point to help with the balance. Try to breathe steadily and not hold your breath. Swap sides.

Dancers Pose – A Balance and a Thigh Stretch

Beginners Yoga Poses Dancers Pose

Similar to tree this is another balance but with an added stretch thigh stretch, shoulder stretch and chest stretch! From standing shift your weight onto one leg. Bend the other leg and catch a hold of your foot behind you. Kick your foot back opening up your shoulders and your chest. Try to keep your chest facing forwards and your hips square. Focus your gaze to help with balance. Hold before swapping sides.

Pigeon Pose, a Glute and Hip Stretch

Beginners Yoga Poses Pigeon Pose

Please be careful with your knees in this posture. If you feel any pain in your knee come out. From all fours slide one knee forward point the knee off to the side of your mat, with your shin on a diagonal. Stretch the other leg back on the floor behind you. Fidget looking for the sensation of stretch in the buttock of the front leg, your glutes. Hold before swapping sides.

Bridge Pose, a stretch for upper back whilst toning the glutes

Beginners Yoga Poses Bridge PoseLying on your back, knees bent and feet planted hip distance wide apart. Lift your hips and your back up off the mat. Interlace your hands underneath you and straighten your arms, walk your shoulder blades in towards you. Keep your neck straight. Hold for 5 breaths.


I hope that you give these postures a try and home.  It is always best to learn yoga with an experienced teacher and its great if you get the opportunity to learn with other beginners as this is way less daunting! I’d love to welcome you to either of our upcoming Beginners Yoga Courses here in Southampton and Eastleigh.

What: 6 Week Beginners Yoga Course

Where: Richard Taunton’s College, Southampton

When: Monday 25 Sept – Monday 30 Oct

Time: 18:00 – 19:00

Price: £46

Course is hosted by Laura Green and taught by Caroline Eyles


What: 6 Week Beginners Yoga Course

Where: The Hub, Eastleigh

When: Monday 25 Sept – Monday 30 Oct

Time: 19:15 – 20:15

Price: £46

Course is hosted by Laura Green and taught by Veronique Dumont


To book email




Best Yoga Stretches for Runners

Top 4 Yoga Stretches for Runners

Perfect for Injury Prevention, Improved Running Form and Recovery

These are post run yoga stretches or rest day stretches to add to your training regime. Running, even with the most efficient style, does put load, stress and strain on the body – but I get it you love it! So just make sure to add rejuvenating and injury preventing yoga postures and yoga stretches to your training at least once/week (ideally more). If you want to learn even more check out our Monthly Yoga for Runners Workshops in Southampton or the Online 7 Week Yoga for Runners Course.

Shin / Ankle Yoga Stretch for Runners

  1. Sitting back on your heels, bring your hands to the ground behind you
  2. Lean back and lift your knees up and as much of your shins as possible
  3. If you are tight in your ankles don’t worry if you don’t get much lift, it’ll improve over time

Runners Lunge – a Yoga Stretch

  1. A stretch for both the hamstrings and the hip flexors perfect for runners
  2. From kneeling step one leg forward, straighten the leg as much as possible (it’s ok to keep a little bend in the knee whilst your flexibility improves)
  3. Lift up the foot and toes of the front leg to also stretch your calf
  4. Keeping your spine long fold your chest forwards over the straight leg

Hip Flexor / Psoas Yoga Stretch for Runners

  1. From the above posture, bend your knee and place your foot on the floor
  2. Your knee is exactly above your ankle in the front leg
  3. Bring both hands to the floor on the inside of the front leg
  4. Slowly start to drop your back hip flexor lower to the ground as you lower your chest a little closer to the ground as well.
  5. Over time you can progress to placing your elbows on the floor

Quad / Hip Flexor Yoga Stretch for Runners

  1. From seated, carefully bend one leg back behind you and plant the other foot flat on the floor with your knee bent.
  2. As much as possible try to have even weight on both buttocks
  3. Bring first your hands to the ground behind you and gently lean back
  4. Over time lower down onto your elbow
  5. You must keep the bent knee on the floor
  6. Any pain in your knee come straight out of the posture

I hope that you give this yoga stretches for runners ago and enjoy incorporating them into your running training for less injuries, improved running form and recovery. We’d love to teach you more at either the Yoga for Runners Workshops on our Online Yoga for Runners Course.


Keep Looking Forward – Yoga Lesson’s on Mindfulness in Southampton

The moment has passed. The moment has always passed. For in a blink, a breath, a simple passing second we are on to the next. There is no use, no good to come from hanging on, for languishing in the past. Let go of the moment so as to more fully experience the next. What is the point of dwelling on the past – we don’t get any do overs or any remakes. Whatever happened the past is ALL GOOD – as long as it is in the past. Keep looking forward!


The wonderful practice of yoga is a great playing field to explore more the concept of mindfulness and living life in the present. Come and experience for yourself at a Yoga Class in Southampton with Laura Green Yoga. Check out the Yoga Class Timetable Here.


Laura Green Yoga - Keep Looking Forward - Yoga Southampton
Laura Green Yoga - Natarajasana - Dancer's Pose