Also See Yoga Injuries
Everyone from Dr. Oz to Madonna have raved about the benefits of yoga. If you try yoga every day for a week and do not over-extend yourself, you will find that you are just a bit more flexible than you were before. Yoga in my opinion allows you to gently stretch everyday which keeps your body supple.
Gently works all your muscles, fascia, joints and ligaments
Many of us, even athletes, do not use all of our joints, muscles, ligaments and fascia. If we don’t they become more prone to injury. Yoga allows us to gently stretch and strengthen all these parts of your body. Which keeps them in good working order. If you don’t know what ligaments and fascia are, here are some quick and easy definitions.
Muscles - Tissue in your body that contract or relax, allowing motion and force.
Ligaments - Tissue that connects bones to other bones
Fascia - Tissue that binds all of your muscles, blood vessels and nerves together (like plastic wrap). It extends uninterrupted from your head to the tips of your toes.
Joints - The place where two or more bones make contact.
Increases muscle strength
Some poses requires very strong muscles to hold the pose. As you continue your yoga practice, these muscles become stronger and you can hold the pose for longer and increase the complexity of the pose e.g. you can go from half locust to full locust.
Calms your mind
As you flow from one pose to the other, your mind stops racing and you calmly assess where your feet, hands and hips are. You practice your yoga breathing and this helps calm your mind.
Give you mental clarity and focus
Yoga keeps your mind in the present moment. You start focusing in on one specific part of your body and learning to listen to your body. This helps your mind practice focus and clear thought. A skill easily transferred to work, relationships and other parts of your life.
As different forms of yoga develop and as more and more people try yoga, there has been an increase in yoga related injuries. Yoga injuries don’t happen overnight, they develop due to chronic straining of your joints, muscles and ligaments. These include neck injuries, spine injuries, knee injuries, and swelling of joints in the hands or feet. It seems as though some people are not listening to their bodies. Here are some tips to help prevent yoga injuries.
- Make sure you are doing the pose correctly. An incorrect pose can cause misalignment and injury.
- Listen to your body. You should feel a gentle stretch of your muscles, if it feel more strenuous. Stop! This is not no pain no gain.
- Remember yoga is not a competitive sport. Don’t look at the person on the mat next to you. You don’t know how long they’ve practiced yoga or if they have hyper-motility (extremely flexible joints).