by Keila Chaliotis, Staff Writer
When one starts an exercise routine it is hard. Most, if not all, of the times we ache for a few days and we can’t get up the next morning. This is because our muscles are tense and don’t get enough exercise. As you keep with the routine, the muscles become more relaxed and get used to the exercise. Doing yoga will help relax the body and vessels that will make other exercises easier to do, since the muscles will be more relaxed to be worked.
More flexibility is one of the first benefits from practicing yoga. In the first class, it is very likely that you won’t be able to touch your toes with your fingers while your legs are straight. Let alone do back arcs backwards. However, as you work on it and do more yoga stretching, you will gradually be able to relax your muscles more. You will be able to do some postures that you couldn’t do. Your body aches and tense muscles will go away as well. Tense hips can cause pressure in the knee joint, due to inadequate alignment of the femur in the muscle with the shinbone. Having tense back leg muscles can create problems in the lumbar region and spine, which will result in pain. No or little flexibility in the muscles, connective tissues (such as fascia tissues) and ligaments can result in deforming postures.
Strong muscles not only look good but have more benefits. One of them is reduction in risk of arthritis and/or its intensity of pain and backache. It also helps in preventing falls amongst elders. Studies show that yoga can help increase muscle strength. Once muscle strength increases, it works hand in hand with flexibility. Weight lifting can increase muscle mass and strength but at the expense of flexibility.
Each time you practice yoga your articulations go through a complete range of movements. This can help reduce the risk of degenerative arthritis. It can also reduce this illness or reduce its intensity by promoting more areas of the cartilage that are not normally used. Cartilage in the joints acts like sponges, receiving fresh nutrients after the inner fluids are squeezed out and new ones take their place. Without regular maintenance, those unused cartilage areas can suffer fatigue, exposing the bone underneath it.
It is a proven fact that exercises that require weight lifting strengthen bones and helps reduce osteoporosis. Many yoga postures require you to lift your own weight and keep it raised partially on different joints. Some exercises, work on our arms and shoulders, which become very susceptible to fractures due to osteoporosis. A study by UCLA concluded that yoga practice increases the density of the vertebrate bones. Yoga can also reduce levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which tends to reduce bone formation and calcium absorption. By reducing cortisol more calcium will be absorb and more bone will be built.
When the internal muscles relax and contract, organs in contact with them move. Practicing yoga postures will increase the flow of lymph fluid in the muscles being worked on and those they directly or indirectly affect. Increasing the flow of the lymph fluid will increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the immune system at eliminating infections and destroying cancerous cells. It will also help flush out of our bodies the wastes generated by the cells themselves.
Have you notice the strength and tension in the muscles when holding the phone or the wheel of the car? Do you feel the muscles in your face when looking at a computer screen? These are unconscious habits that can lead to chronic tension, muscular fatigue and sensitiveness to pain in the wrists, arms, shoulders, neck and face. This can lead to increase in stress levels and deteriorating state of mind and emotions. Once you start practicing yoga you will start to notice where your tension points are, which can be anywhere, even where you least imagine. Once you know where your tension points are, you can learn how to relax them and eliminate the tension in them. The rate of tension elimination will depend on the size of the muscle and your discipline at the exercises. So don’t expect complete results within hours or days.
But have a try to least learn where your tension points are within your body. Then you can decide if you want them gone or not. Start with the smallest muscle with tension and work your way up.