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Why We Love Yoga for Injury Prevention and Recovery

JBarber - June 20, 2019 - 0 comments

Yoga is truly a life-changing habit that can be incorporated into your lifestyle with ease. Our post on the 6 Benefits of Early Morning Yoga emphasizes how it enhances physical fitness and mental clarity without requiring too much of your time.

1. Yoga Increases Flexibility

Many aches and pains stem from a lack of flexibility. For example, soccer players need adequate mobility in their hips so that they can strike a ball correctly. Without it the joints may be pushed beyond their limit and incur injuries. Contrary to popular belief, yoga doesn’t require you to be flexible right away. Through yoga you will increase the range of motion in the joints and lengthen the muscles so they can be used for power movements.

2. Yoga Conditions the Muscles

Building muscular strength is the trick to protecting the joints from pain and injury. Olympic snowboarder Jamie Anderson knows this all too well and on Popsugar she praised yoga for keeping her in shape and more relaxed (through practicing core fusion and Vinyasa). By making her muscles more supple and relaxing her mind, she noted how easily she could roll out of a crash, reducing her chances of getting hurt. This is because the core system, which includes the back muscles, cushions the spine and is crucial in sports like snowboarding in maintaining balance.

3. Yoga Strengthens the Bones

Gentle yoga practice is often recommended to older adults as it boosts bone health and reduces joint pain. A study published in the Topics in Geriatric Rehabilitation Journal found that yoga actually increases bone density, specifically along the spine and thigh bone. It can help people who experience issues with low bone density – resulting from age, medical conditions, or nutrient deficiency – to avoid pain and injury.

4. Yoga Encourages Proper Alignment

Anyone who works out knows how important it is to follow the correct form and technique. Fortunately, yoga is first and foremost a practice in mindfulness. It develops a deeper awareness of your body, especially when it comes to movement. It will train your mind to seek out proper alignment and reduce your chances of getting injured.

5. Yoga Loosens Tight Muscles

The poses in yoga are created not only for strengthening but also for lengthening.  This is a blessing for very tight muscles that often come from intense workouts and not enough stretching. You can even enhance this effect in specialized yoga classes, particularly hot yoga as the heat is said to make the muscles more pliable. For instance, Serena Williams is an avid fan of hot yoga for this very reason.  Williams’ 23 Grand Slam wins means she is one of the highest paid female tennis players of all-time, and her alternative recovery methods have proven invaluable over the years. Because of her careful training program that includes hot yoga, the tennis pro hasn’t had any serious issues with muscle stiffness.  Yoga is a great way to alleviate stiffness and the best part is that you only need to practice once a week to reap the benefits.

6. Yoga Develops Breath Control

Yoga focuses on proper breathing techniques, as it is the key to maintaining each pose with minimal effort. As it turns out, bad posture affects the lung’s ability to take healing breaths. The American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation explains that a slouched back compresses the organs and leads to shallow breaths, instead of deep, rejuvenating ones. This can reduce the supply of oxygen in the blood which is needed to heal injuries and wounds.

Yoga is a great way to strengthen your body and stay injury-free. If the injury has already happened, however, easing into yoga gradually can be an effective rehabilitation technique.

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JBarber is a Contributing Author to Atherial.