One thing that restricts a lot of people from taking up a new form of exercise is the age-old get-out clause. “If I take up yoga, will I wake up the day after my first class in incredible pain?” It is a fair question, and one which comes from the fact that most forms of exercise, when taken for the first time, work muscles that had until that time been somewhat underused. As a consequence, they are less flexible and you will be in some pain the day after you have exercised.
The truth is that yoga is not immune from this kind of outcome. It may be a mystically enhanced way of exercising, but it certainly is not too in tune with the cosmos to feel pain every once in a while. The pain that you get after jogging, or playing sports, when you wake up the next day, is known as DOMS – Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness. It happens because the muscles are healing after they have been (slightly and temporarily) torn in order to grow stronger. If you feel immediate pain – and it happens, because we are human – and it is severe and sudden, then this is more likely to be a tear or a pull.
When you put your body through a demanding process, you take it outside its comfort zone and this can result in pain or injury. This does not mean that yoga is dangerous, merely that, like all exercise, it is not removed from the possibility of you suffering a little bit of pain. However the more you do, the less pain you will suffer.