When yoga expert Rodney Yee broke his ankle in 2005, he drew on all of his yoga rehab training and studies in yoga rehabilitation and related practices to help his body heal. Here’s why this remarkable therapeutic complement to conventional methods of treating injury can help you rehabilitate an injury, relieve pain and get back in action.
Yoga is fundamentally different from conventional medicine in its approach to injury. Rather than attempt to isolate the cause of an injury to a single factor and to correct it using a specific cure, yoga aims to treat injury by working with the body’s natural healing systems and improving health on all levels. Asanas, or yoga movements, relax and strengthen muscles and massage internal organs; pranayama, or focused breathing, delivers oxygenated blood to injured areas; and relaxation and meditation calm the mind and reduce pain in the form of tension.
Yoga’s Role in Rehab
With professional instruction and a commitment to an ongoing practice, yoga has been shown to rehabilitate torn muscles, broken bones and a variety of other bodily injuries. But keep in mind that yoga can sometimes make injuries worse. Always talk to your doctor to be sure you understand the nature and extent of the damage — and discuss rehabilitation methods and treatments, including how yoga can be applied in concert with other rehab approaches. Yoga should only be used only under the guidance of a yoga instructor trained specifically in the process of injury rehabilitation.
An Extension of Your Body’s Natural Healing Process
Our body has intrinsic methods of healing itself after an injury. It rushes nurturing blood to injured areas, it produces antibodies to fight infection, and it produces pain-relieving endorphins, to name just a few.
One important way yoga helps heal the body after injury is by supporting these natural defenses. The gentle movements of yoga encourage deeper breathing and boost circulation, helping the blood do its work more effectively and increasing the amount of oxygen in the blood.
How the Yoga Poses Help
Yoga movements, or asanas, are the roots of the healing process. The asanas are capable of exercising every muscle, nerve and gland in the body as you stretch and move in repetitive full-body motion.
Yoga asanas strengthen muscles and help make bones healthier. They invigorate organs, helping keep the body free from disease by strengthening the immune system. In addition, the smooth, repetitive movements of yoga increase circulation and lung capacity, drain the lymphatic system and stimulate glands. Specific asanas can be modified to treat a variety of injuries with the health affirming affects of gentle, repetitive motion. For many decades, inactivity was the solution for most injuries. Now, as we better understand how the body heals, we have learned to support the natural healing process with gentle movements. Great news for people trying to stay healthy on the job.
Yoga and Pain Management
Yoga exercises and concentration techniques also serve to reduce the pain and unremitting stress associated with chronic pain from some injuries. In fact, yoga is one way that the body’s production of endorphins can be increased to help reduce pain naturally. Exercise, breathing, relaxation and meditation stimulate the body to produce endorphins, distract the mind from pain and reduce tension in muscles formed in reaction to pain. With yoga, sufferers of chronic pain find they can “move through” the pain instead of resisting it.
Yoga postures also reduce the pain of injury by warming, relaxing and stretching muscles. The combination of warmer and more flexible muscles decreases joint and ligament tension, which reduces muscle pain. Usually, some of the pain we feel from injuries is the natural result of constricted muscles. Yoga can reduce the pain of muscle injury by gently stretching muscles and freeing constrictions.
The Rehabilitation Process
To enable yoga to impact the rehabilitation process, it is necessary to find a qualified instructor and make a commitment to a consistent yoga practice.
A serious commitment to a daily practice of yoga is necessary to enable the postures to impact the healing process. Some types of yoga, including Ashtanga and Bikram, promote a strict order and repetition of yoga classes. Repeating the same movements in the same order develops To Continue Reading CLICK HERE!