Yoga can be key to helping you recover from an injury, undo years of bad postural habits, or relieve your stress.
Like few other exercises, yoga has the ability to get you focussing on breath, willing chronically tight muscles to loosen. It creates a mind body awareness of how you are positioned and starts a dialogue between you and your body that will help you find physical cues of rising stress levels and enact change simply by thinking about it.
This enhanced state relaxation is key to getting muscles to release. One reason tight muscles stay tight is because of the pain-tension cycle. Often there is nothing wrong with the muscle. There is no damage, but the muscle simply won’t release because it is painful which is causing tightness, which causes more pain, which causes more tightness. By destressing the person, focussing on the breathing, and entering certain positions, the pain-tension cycle can be broken and the muscle may find it easier to release.
The positioning in yoga is unique and shows an ancient understanding of modern concepts such as anatomy trains. Anatomy trains was pioneered by Tom Myers. It shows that there are chains of fascial connections that link many muscles from the feet all the way to the head. Basically, the fascia fascia on the soles of the feet is connected to the fascia of your calf muscles, which is connected to the fascia of your hamstrings, which is connected to the fascia of your glutes, which is connected to the fascia of the back’s erector muscles, which is connected to the fascia of the neck and head. The advantage of yoga over traditional stretching is that traditional stretching focusses on stretching the fascia of one muscle at a time, while yoga stretches all the fascia of all the muscles in a given anatomy train at once. This means that if a fascial restriction in your foot is leading to tightness in your lower back, yoga helps to address it.
The yoga poses are also helpful because they are the opposite of the harmful postures we assume most of the day. Daily work in front of your computer may cause you to slouch. Yoga asks you to assume the opposite posture: chest open, shoulders back, head tall. Daily work may have you sticking your gut out, while yoga asks you to suck in your belly and elongate your lower back while you tuck in your glutes. By reversing the postures you can change what your body sees as normal and give your body time to repair itself.
Yoga works. Why not give it a try?