It seems that everyone is into yoga nowadays: the ancient Indian discipline has gone viral over the past decade as medical research began springing up in support of its favorable effects on the human body, mind, emotions and spirit. In addition to its diverse health benefits, yoga can also help prevent occupational or sports-sustained injuries and promote wound healing and overall recovery, which makes it an ideal rehabilitation therapy for professional athletes.
Held Poses and Gentle Stretches for Pain Relief
Yoga combines elements of breathing, stretches and held poses which can considerably relieve pain in chronic or acute muscle, joint and spinal conditions. In cases of serious sports injuries, your physician may prescribe essential medical supplies to facilitate healing, but yoga exercises, supervised by a professional instructor, can be used as an additional rehabilitative technique to further promote and accelerate recuperation.
Conscious yoga breathing helps improve oxygen and nutrient supply to the cells, while slow, controlled stretches contribute to increased blood flow, muscle elasticity, and detoxication. By strengthening the supporting musculature, yoga helps heal and repair sports-sustained damage to individual muscles, such as sprains, torn ligaments and muscle strains. Muscles strengthened through yoga practices can take over the load from vulnerable muscles, alleviating pain and promoting healing.
Yoga Improves Muscle Reflex Control
As it targets all joints, spine and major muscle groups, yoga boosts muscle flexibility and strength and increases range of motion, which are essential to preventing and treating sports injuries. Yoga also promotes healing of injuries to the soft tissues by relaxing natural spinal reflexes that trigger automatic muscle contraction.
Through yoga, you can learn to consciously control the Myotatic Reflex, Inverse Myotatic Reflex, and Reciprocal Relaxation Reflex, and alleviate the tension in different muscle groups by holding poses such as Sit Easy, Dog Cat, Downward Dog and Cobra. Sit Easy pose is optimally suited to people suffering from hip and lower back injuries, Dog Cat targets the spinal muscle group (i.e. erectors), Cobra pose can be useful for people with arm or back injuries, while Downward Facing Dog is an excellent pose for people with injuries to the back and hamstrings.
Pick the Best Yoga Style for Therapy Purposes
One of the most popular yoga styles in post-injury rehabilitation is Hatha yoga. Hatha yoga is a low-impact exercise which is often combined with meditation to additionally boost therapeutic effects. In addition to promoting injury healing, Hatha yoga can also stabilize blood pressure and glucose levels, normalize heart rate and metabolic processes and improve respiratory and cardiovascular functioning, all of which are inextricable from speedier recovery and improved health.
Other yoga styles often incorporated into therapy include Bikram yoga, Ashtanga yoga, Vidya yoga and Iyengar yoga. Experienced yoga therapists often combine elements of different yoga styles to create custom workout programs based on the assessment of the patient’s capabilities, recovery pace and individual needs.
In addition to its physical benefits, yoga can also help destress and counter anxiety, depression and disrupted sleep cycles which often accompany injuries in professional athletes. At the same time, yoga can change the way you perceive and treat life: instead of forcing things and yielding to negativity in case of unexpected hardships, yoga teaches you to preserve an open mind and stay positive in the face of adversity.
Mental flexibility, improved balance, concentration and discipline, as well as patience, proper care and respect for the body which go hand in hand with yoga, are precious assets for both recreational and professional athletes looking to prevent and heal sports injuries. In case you want to optimize your recuperation after a surgery or a sports injury, yoga may just be your secret card to success.
Sophia Smith is an Australian-based beauty, lifestyle and health blogger. She is very passionate about organic beauty products, healthy lifestyle and personal development. She is a regular contributor at High Style Life. Find her on: Twitter Facebook Google+.
*Disclaimer: The ideas and opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not reflect the view of Zensorium.
Interested to become a Guest Writer on our Blog?
Read our guidelines to find out more!
FitDay | Using Yoga to Heal Muscle Injury
Raub, J. A. (2002). Psychophysiologic effects of Hatha Yoga on musculoskeletal and cardiopulmonary function: a literature review. The Journal of Alternative & Complementary Medicine, 8(6), 797-812.
Follow us on: