Do you have knee, hip, shoulder or lower back pain? Would you like to drastically reduce your sensation of pain and increase your ability to enjoy movement and exercise? Then keep reading…
In 2009 I hurt my knee at a Karate class. I was standing in an inward tension stance practicing basic punching. The rotation of the hip and the forced tension of my stance caused me to aggravate an old injury that had not bothered me for years.
I had to stop training the style of Karate I was practicing at the time as well as stop my training in Capoeira, my knee simply could not handle the demand placed upon it by kicking exercises. I didn’t want to stop exercising but I knew I had to take a break from my regular modes of exercise so I did it, I took a dive and gave Yoga a shot.
For four months I stretched, balanced and breathed my way to happy, healthier knees. Since then I have been back to a regular schedule of punching and kicking with few issues. Yes my knee flares up every once and awhile but generally I am able to keep it in check through three principles I learnt in Yoga.
— Kyle Duske
So how does Yoga help you keep your knees happy and healthy?
A lot of joint and muscular pain can be the result of overly tense muscles. Tight calves can instigate a whole slew of problems from knee pain to plantar fasciitis. Taking the time to stretch your muscles helps keep them limber and loose. Making sure you take time after every workout to stretch and including at least one extended session of stretching a week will help you decrease your recovery time and prevent injury.
Yoga includes many balancing postures. One legged balancing postures are incredibly important for the health of your feet, ankles, hips and knees. As you struggle to balance you learn to activate your stabilizer muscles (these are not actually special muscles just for stability but we can talk about that later). It also forces you to work unilaterally which helps reduce muscle imbalances that can cause muscular instability and pain.
Focusing on your breath will help you do two simple things, that many people struggle with in all of our classes, which are both very important for recovery and injury prevention. Connecting deep breathing to your movement helps you to both relax and tune in. By relaxing you allow your body to stretch and release both physical and mental tension. Deep breathing also helps you tune in, by this we mean it helps you to deepen your mind muscle connection. Learning to be more mindful and aware of how your body feels and moves will help you expedite your recovery from injury and fatigue, as well as prevent you from moving in potentially damaging ways.