Yoga shows us how to treat and care for the joints of our body.
Yoga shows us that joints can not only be exercised safely but also strengthened and improved dramatically.
Connective tissues acts like a “shrink wrap” which over time becomes dry and brittle. When bones begin to rub against one another, this causes arthritis, joint fixation and atrophy in the surrounding muscles. The best way to combat all of this is not to avoid working the joints, but understanding how to practice, how to use props, modifications and hold postures for a longer period of time.
Specific yoga postures called Yin Yoga target the fascia and connective tissue that surrounds the eight major joints of our body.
Inside the connective tissue are called meridians. These sacred meridians are also known as energy lines. When we put pressure on certain places in the body, we begin to stimulate electromagnetic currents which some refer to as the ‘chi’ or life force energy in our body. With a proper Yin Yoga sequence, certain areas of the body can be targeted, improving the entire system of body and mind. When we awaken and stimulate the meridians and joints, we also may feel as one yogi scholar, Pantajali wrote “dormant forces, faculties and talents come alive”.
But all too often, when we have arthritis or flare up and visit the doctor, chances are we will be asked to limit our exercise, and avoid putting any pressure or weight on that problematic hip or knee. According to yoga, one of the greatest myth’s about our joints is that as time progresses, the cartilage around the joint wears down and that the best solution is really to take it easy and try to stay away from exercising that part of our body. Sometime, we may too aggressively try to force flexibility on the joints. This is also not helpful and we may experience compression or skeletal restriction. In yoga, we utilize our breathing as our edge detector. We simple stay calm and notice the breath. In doing so, we will be able to play the edge.
It is essential that you learn about your edge. Bad pain is anything sharp, electrical, sudden or that takes your breath away. When you approach the following sequence of postures, make sure that your edge is challenging, achey, confrontational, tolerable but never too much.
NOT TOO HARD. It is likely you have found compression. It is when two bones in any given and unique body found a place where there is no furthur to go. Rather than forcing or trying too hard, allow yoga to be a process of contemplation, non-competition and path of liberation. At this time, it is a beautiful experience to simply abide in one’s own essence. There is nowhere to get to, and understand than in some fundamental way, we have already arrived.
NOT TOO LOSE. Sometimes the tissue and elastic of the body may need to be opened in order to allow the greater connective tissue to be placed under sufficient inert pressure. It is here when we hold postures for a longer period of time and allow the muscles to relax, that we allow the hydrochlauronic acids and synovial fluids an opportunity flow again. Tension in and around the joints can be especially problematic as we get older as well as those who suffer from arthritis.
A few tips to help your body.
- Practice a few yoga postures everyday. Our joints have been compacting and compressing since the day we were born. Try not to take your tension too seriously.
- When practicing yoga, try a few yin postures, such a pigeon postures, low lunge pose and any seated forward posture using a blanket under your pelvis to help get the forward rotation. Imagine as you hold these postures from 4-10 minutes that similar to placing a herbal tea bag in a hot cup of boiling water, your body also requires space and time to soak up all of its beauty and magnificence too.
- Here is a quick tip: try sitting on the floor as this will keep those hips open, healthy and happy all day long!
N a M a S t E !!
Image credit: © Elenat