Tingling As a Side Effect of Yoga

Sitting in one position for a long time can cause tingling.
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Yoga, a complete mind-body system that links breath and movement to build flexibility, enhances strength and reduce stress and is practiced by 20 million people in the U.S., reported National Public Radio in February 2012. Offered in a variety of forms and intensity levels, yoga can help most people manage chronic conditions and improve overall feelings of wellness, but it is not without possible side effects. Before beginning any exercise program, including yoga, consult with your physician. If you experience a side effect, such as tingling, that does not resolve soon after practice, you should also consult a doctor immediately.

Holding Postures

You’ve no doubt had your leg fall asleep when you’ve sat in one position for too long. The tingling sensation of pins and needles can also occur in yoga if you sit or stand in one position for too long. Essentially, you cut off the flow of blood, which triggers sensation in the nerves in the area so your brain knows you need to shift your weight to restore normal circulation. If you experience tingling during a long seated meditation, for example, simple shift position slightly to keep the blood flowing normally. While yoga encourages you to breathe through an uncomfortable sensation, it does not direct you to breathe through pain or potentially alarming symptoms, such as tingling. If the tingling does not subside after practice, consult your doctor.

Nerve Injuries

Nerve injuries can occur in rare cases as a result of practicing yoga, explains the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. An injury to the nerves in your neck, for example, could cause tingling sensations in your arms or shoulders, while an injury to nerves in the lower back can cause tingling to occur down the back of your leg. A report published in the journal “Neurological Sciences” in April 2012 detailed a single case of a woman who experienced damage to the sciatic nerve due to chronic injury during the practice of yoga. A herniated disc can also cause tingling because it presses on the nerves in the back -- and excessive forward bending in a yoga class can aggravate this sensation.


A stroke or transient ischemic attack, called a TIA, are remote, but possible, side effects of some yoga poses. Tingling can be a warning sign that you are experiencing a type of stroke, called arterial dissection, or a TIA attack in which the blood stops flowing to a part of the brain for a short period of time. You may experience tingling and other strokelike symptoms such as numbness, disorientation and slurred speech for one to 24 hours. Poses such as Shoulder Stand, Headstand, Side Angle, Triangle and Plow are implicated in these side effects because they may cause you to move your neck in a sudden and extreme way. “Yoga Journal” points out that the type of stroke that may result from yoga poses affects just 1.5 in every 10,000 people, and yoga isn’t usually the cause. If you are concerned about this potential, avoid poses that could possibly result in this condition.


If you experience tingling or numbness during yoga, these symptoms may originate from a cause unrelated to your practice. Tingling can result from food reactions and nutritional deficiencies. Certain medical conditions, including diabetes, carpal tunnel syndrome and migraines, can also be a cause. Some medications, animal and insect bites and infections may also be to blame. Your doctor can help you rule out these potentially serious possibilities. Yoga is safe for most people, but seek out a qualified teacher for the best experience.

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