How to Relieve Aches and Pains with Yoga
Some of the more obvious benefits of yoga include an incredibly toned body, increased flexibility, and improved balance. One of the other awesome benefits that is often overlooked is that it can also relieve aches and pains.
Yoga can provide relief for a number of different pains and ailments, including:
- Joint Pain
- Digestive Issues
- Muscle Soreness or Stiffness
- Back Pain
- Knee Pain
- Many other common chronic pains
Note that improving flexibility overall is the best way that you can relieve most aches and pains, especially muscle soreness and stiffness.
This requires repeatedly stretching the muscles on a daily (best) or weekly (2-3x per week) basis. This will help to warm up the muscles and joints and release tension in the body.
In this article, we are going to cover some of the most common aches and pains that people have and how yoga can provide relief. You will notice that a couple of the poses are repeated in different sections. That is because they are great for different kinds of pains!
Joint pain is probably the most common ailment people face, and it especially plagues people that are older or carry excess weight. It is often derived from a variety of reasons, including lack of essential nutrients, weak bones, and not enough exercise. Some places that people often find the pain is in the knees, wrists, shoulders, and hips.
The knees and hips tend to take the hardest hit because they are responsible for our balance and mobility. Practicing yoga can help increase the mobility and function of your joints and help strengthen them. Some common yoga poses to practice include:
1. Triangle Pose
This pose is great for the whole body because it strengthens the muscles around the knee, hip, and shoulder joints.
You can use a yoga block for support if you cannot reach the ground comfortably.
Make sure your back foot is pointed forward, and focus on squaring your hips as you lift your gaze upward.
Hold for 10-20 seconds, and repeat on the other side.
2. Warrior II
Warrior II works similar muscles as Triangle, but it brings the stretch more into your quadriceps as well. This can especially help with joint pain around the knees.
Try to work towards getting your bent knee as close to a 90-degree angle as you can get it. Make sure to keep the back foot pointed forward.
Hold for 10-20 seconds, and repeat on the other side.
3. Bow Pose
Bow pose will help to relieve aches and pains in the knees, shoulders, and lower back.
Make sure to ease into this pose slowly and stop where you feel comfortable.
Begin by laying on your stomach on the floor. Bend both knees, and reach your arms around to grab the tops of your ankles.
Using your core and back muscles, lift up off the ground. Hold for 5-10 seconds, and release.
Always remember to listen to your body while you practice. It is normal to feel a little uncomfortable at first because your body is not used to stretching in certain ways. If you feel increased pain in any area, stop and try something else or modify the pose to make it a little easier.
Also, remember that diet plays a role in the healthy function of the joints as well. Avoid inflammatory foods such as sugar and gluten, and eat foods with anti-inflammatory benefits such as fresh fruits and vegetables.
Many people are also plagued with chronic headaches and migraines, and things are only getting worse as we continue to add more stress and distraction in our lives.
Yoga has just as many mental benefits as it does physical.
Meditation can do wonders to help you let go of the many nuances of life and focus on the things that matter. A major side effect of that is also reduced stress and anxiety.
Practice regular meditation to alleviate some of these pains. If you find yourself needing more than that, you can try:
4. Seated Forward Bend
This pose can help relieve some of the built-up tension in your head and help you see clearly again. It also works wonders for increasing the flexibility in your hamstrings!
Don’t worry if you cannot touch your toes. It has nothing to do with trying to relieve your headaches! Just focus on leaning forward as far as you can comfortably hold the pose, and then hold it for 30 seconds. Repeat 3x for optimal effects.
If you have a yoga block handy, you can place it on your legs so that you can rest your head on it.
Many people suffer from chronic knee pain, whether it be from natural movements over time or previous injuries. The movements of the knees come from not just the kneecaps and surrounding muscles and joints, but also the muscles in the quadriceps as well.
Misalignments can cause wear and tear on the knee, such as grinding of cartilage and destabilization. The poses below will help to not only strengthen the joints and muscles surrounding the knees but also the quadriceps and other muscles in the legs as well.
5. Bound Angle
This one is great for the knees and the hips, which are two of the main joints responsible for mobility.
Sit with your back as straight as possible and the bottoms of your feet touching in front of you. Clasp the feet with the hands for support and stability.
Focus on squeezing your glutes and knees to bring the knees closer to the ground over time.
6. Warrior II and Triangle (explained above)
Be careful not to aggravate the pain in your knee. Make sure to enter the poses slowly, and stop where you feel comfortable. If you feel any increased pain, ease off the stretch.
Back pain is the one that I hear the most complaints about, especially lower back pain. It plagues such a large number of people, and it can be caused by so many different factors, including age, weight, and especially our mostly sedentary lifestyles.
Most people sit in the car on the way to work, sit at a desk to work, sit down during meals, and then come home and sit down on the couch most of the evening.
Sitting can actually cause strain in the neck and lower back. Compounded over time, this can lead to chronic pain and other problems.
7. Cobra Pose
This pose is gentle on the back, but it can also help to greatly strengthen it.
It’s a pose that you can choose to actively work in or just go through the motions. Make sure that you are consciously stretching the back muscles.
Lay on your stomach, and place your hands about 1 foot in front of you, shoulder-width apart. Gently lift up using your core and back muscles.
Try to keep your hands light in front of you and use them as little as possible in this pose. This will help keep your core and back “activated” and working throughout the stretch.
8. Half Lord of the Fishes
This pose is one of many spinal twists in yoga. They are good for releasing tension and decompressing the spine. They are also said to be very good for relieving stress.
Bend one knee over your other outstretched leg. You can hold onto it as pictured, or place your right elbow on the outside of your left knee to increase the twist.
Reach your other arm back behind you, and allow your body to gently twist as you do so. Make sure to turn your head in the same direction as your outstretched hand to keep the neck from straining too much.
You can also bend your outstretched knee to wrap around your other hip (towards your left arm if you are doing it as pictured in the photo).
9. Seated Forward Fold (explained above)
These poses can help strengthen your back muscles and relieve tension. Just remember to take it easy with your back, because your spine is very delicate. Do not force any of these poses.
If you are looking for a little more guidance on what poses are right for you and how to put them together for a practice, our Yoga Fat Loss Bible for Beginners would be a great place to start.
It comes with a complete flexibility guide that also has many beginner modifications to help you loosen up your muscles and relieve your aches and pains faster than ever!
It’s all-encompassing, with 50+ fat-burning yoga poses, a 6-week workout plan, a complete flexibility guide, and a beginner’s guide to meditation!
I designed it so that you can learn all about yoga, which poses are right for you, and so that you can go at your own pace with your practice.
And leave us a comment below if you enjoyed this article or have any questions for us!
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