Why do we feel tingling, shaking, numbness and cramps in Yoga class? Yoga anatomy.

We all enjoy the ‘sweet pain’ of Yoga.

But there is a difference between that and the feeling one of: tingling, numbness, shaking, or experiencing head rushes, petechia, muscle cramping, or even worse – joint popping.

The latter few should never be the case in yoga practice, however almost all of have experienced at least one of the discomforts.


Petechiae a small (1–2 mm) red or purple spot on the skin, caused by a minor bleed from broken capillary blood vessels.

Why? Usually apears around eyes area, top of the cheeks, often after the headstand and handstand.

What to do? Petechiae due to straining, holding your breath and ‘trying to hard’. If yoga pose is bringing more stress than joy and achievement, then you need to talk to your teacher to check your alignment and consider different/other variations of the pose. Petechiae  is fairly common and not a cause for alarm. However, it can be a symptom of a more serious problem, so it’s good to see your doctor if you develop petechiae without a good reason.

Tingling, or “pins and needles” 

Why? Pins and Needles in the hands and feet is often happens after shoulder and wrists stretching poses like: hands in  Namaste behind the back or Gomukasana (cow face yoga pose). Pushing through the stretch rather than being mindful will lead to lengthening the nerves too suddenly and attempting to stretch beyond restrictions and cause tingling in the arms and hands. Over stretching the sciatic nerve can cause tingling in the legs and feet.

What to do? Ease out of the pose up and breathe there. Pushing further into the restricted range may cause tissue damage. By being patient and mindful, you’ll eventually expand your available range of motion and be able to move further into the stretch before or without the tingling.


As a yoga teacher, this is something I’ve observe very often. We all start somewhere, so keep practicing!

Why? Shaking is usually a harmless sign of muscle fatigue. Beginners often shake in balance yoga poses. Over time, as muscle memory and strength improve, the shake will disappear. Theres are few reasons which cause shaking:  dehydration, lack of nutrients, weakness of muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Please note, if you experience yogi , sudden shakes could be a sign of a serious condition.

What to do? Come out of the pose right after you start shaking, take a few deep breathe cycles and hydrate. Advanced yogis can build their strength by holding poses for 30 to 60 seconds, even after mild shaking has started or stay in the pose until the shaking becomes unsafe or until they’re about to lose their balance.


Why? Numbness may result from poor circulation, nerve pressure, or over stretching.

What to do? Carefully come out of the pose. If seating in Virasana (between your feet) and you feel the knees is become tight and numb, try ease out of the pose by coming forward and lift to Downward dog. Don’t attempt to straighten your legs right away. Keep your knees bend and take your time to lock them.

Muscle cramps

Why? Cramping of just one muscle at the time can be due to dehydration, lack of potassium, and wearing shoes with hard soles or high heels. Whole body cramping may be a sign of underlying disease, severe dehydration, or a side effect of medication.

What to do?  If you feel the first inkling of a cramp when coming into a pose, come out of it and stretch or massage the cramping muscles. Drink plenty of water, eat bananas, wear comfortable shoes with a flexible sole or insoles if you are overpronate.

Stay in tune with yourself. Be aware of all sensations in your body, to maximise the benefits of yoga practice and to avoid unnecesary injuries.


One Comment

  1. Romaine Lillie
    9 hours ago

    Thanks for the information it’s very interesting and I will make sure to follow your advice. X


Leave your thought

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.