Since I began practicing yoga I’ve had an issue with my left shoulder, for what has seemed like the entire time. It makes a cracking noise as I straighten it to enter downward facing dog on my yoga mat. I have Dr. Google’d the heck out of this problem and I’m still coming up short. I’ve found a variety of forums and videos explaining proper form in this move, but nothing specific to a popping or cracking shoulder.
The only “prevention” I have found is that if I enter downward facing dog much slower the popping sometimes does not happen. I’ve been trying so hard to do this, but it’s often challenging, especially in the fast-paced vinyasa style classes I enjoy most.
Further I’ve found a number of websites that discuss joint popping noises, most of which say that a joint cracking noise is fine, so long as there is no pain. I’m not in any pain, but the constant cracking is starting to cause me a bit of anxiety.
I don’t want to wake up in 20 years and not be able to do yoga because I tore my body up during my youth. All I hear older folk complain about is their aches and pains. That sure sounds like a lot to look forward too, huh? Shoulder replacements and torn rotator cuffs are real. I’d like to keep the parts I was born with — and keep them healthy.
I am one of many who read the recent The New York Times magazine article “How Yoga Can Wreck Your Body.” I also listened to the report “The Risks and Rewards of Practicing Yoga” on NPR featuring the same author, William Broad. And to be honest, these reports are making me look at my yoga practice in a different light.
I’m at a crossroads. I’ve been practicing yoga on my yoga mat two to three times a week now pretty much since the start of the year. Maybe that’s a bit much. I’m starting to feel uncomfortable with all this shoulder popping. It’s making me cringe every time I hear it.
As much as I want to continue my practice, I’m going to step back a bit, and take a few days off from yoga. I’m also considering starting up some shoulder exercises again and see if that helps the area at all. Maybe this will give me an excuse to run more again. The human body is both amazing and frustrating at the same time.
I often struggle with maintaining a high level of fitness, yet not overworking my body. Do you?