Should You Practice Yoga When You Are Sore?

By Becca Washer

I once heard someone say, “the only cure for Yoga-Sore is more Yoga.” While there is a lot of merit to this, there are also a lot of other kinds of sore. As someone who has experienced lower back spasms, soreness and pain from running, wrist pain, and general yoga soreness, the best advice I can give is “you do you.”

In other words, meet yourself where you are. The best way to avoid injury is by listening to your body. Pain is real. There are real times when you need to give your body rest. Our bodies do a lot for us every day and we need to respect that. There is also tightness, tired muscles, soreness, and general achiness. For those things, sometimes the best thing we can do is work it out.

Meeting yourself where you’re at does not mean doing the hardest variation of every pose because you know how. It means doing exactly what your body needs. That can look like dropping a knee in side-plank or staying in yogi squat instead of crow pose. It can also look like working your legs vigorously in Warrior II and then taking supported bridge for lower back pain.

Another part of meeting yourself where you are is realizing that there is no expectation, no bar to meet, no grading scale when you’re on your mat. It is a daily practice for me to step on my mat and tell myself “this is for me.” As a recovering perfectionist with a need for approval, this is a hard thing to swallow. My practice does not need to look like my neighbors’ or impress my teacher. It does not need to be ready for the cover of Yoga Journal or be Instagram likeable. It does need to feel good, it needs to stretch and work my body, it needs to strengthen and release, and it needs to be something I can be proud of right then and there. It needs to be for me.

So, should you practice yoga when you’re sore? Yes. Show up, do the work but take care of yourself. Allow yoga to restore your mind while you work out your kinks and soreness. Create a practice that serves you, and then take one heck of a Savasana.

**Disclaimer – I am not a medical professional. All statements are from personal experience.**