Usually when we think about yoga, we think about its benefits. Ever thought, that yoga could harm you? Yes, Yoga can harm you; when it is not performed in a correct manner or when you have some physical condition which is a contraindication for a particular asana (posture).
Systemic breathing is very important while performing yoga, at the same time, stability of mind, quietness of the place where you are practicing yoga carries equal importance. Many ailments can be prevented, intensity of suffering can be reduced and mental peace can be achieved by practicing yoga. But you may encounter certain risks while performing yoga.
When you do certain pranayama or asana in an incorrect manner, it can cause more harm to your body than benefit. Likewise, certain postures are contraindicated for certain health problems and if you do them, you might aggravate your problem. For example, halaasan is contraindicated for people with cervical spondylosis, likewise, people with back pain should perform pad uthanasan in a modified manner, as otherwise it can aggravate the back pain.
Therefore, yoga should always be performed / learnt under the supervision of an instructor who has good knowledge about it. And yes, while doing any asana / pranayama, if you suffer from any discomfort, you should stop there immediately and tell your instructor about it. If you have any issue with your health before starting yoga, let your instructor know about it, however minor the issue is, so that you don’t risk your health further.
These days various styles of yoga are springing up every few days. Remember, yoga has to be performed in a gentle way, where your body easily goes into a posture flawlessly. For this, it is important to develop flexibility, which definitely can be developed by regular practice of yoga. Yes, you can modify the posture to suit your body condition, but the reverse is not true. Practicing different styles of yoga, without knowing traditional yoga, you might be harming your body without realization, which might not be noticeable at an early stage, but in a long run, you might suffer severe consequences on your health. Therefore, it is very important to perform any activity keeping in mind your limitations and not pushing your body to perform it, just because somebody else can do it.