For several years the popularity of yoga has continued to grow. Often perceived as a gentle and spiritual activity, this discipline can also be very physical.
Marilaine Savard has been a physiotherapist for 3 years. As a yoga instructor, she is well aware of the many benefits of this activity and gives us a complete picture.
Yoga: A discipline that is good for you
The virtues of yoga are numerous and make this discipline a complete sport whose benefits for body and mind are well established.
Due to the many postures and sequences it offers, yoga is excellent for strengthening the deep muscles, the mobilizing muscles as well as the musculature of the upper and lower limbs.
Yoga makes it possible to acquire and develop the muscular flexibility of the lower and upper limbs. It also improves spinal flexibility which can have a beneficial impact on your postural alignment and day-to-day posture.
During yoga practice, breathing is a central element for relaxation and muscle relaxation. Breathing has an influence on many aspects of daily life (sleep, stress management, pain, etc.), this activity allows you to learn how to better manage your breathing and how to use it to improve certain health problems.
Self-awareness and relaxation
In addition to being a discipline that allows you to develop certain physical skills, yoga is known for its beneficial impact on mental activity and the management of emotions. Among the many skills that this discipline can develop, there are self-awareness “mindfulness”, stress management or relaxation (relaxation).
Science at the service of yoga
For several years, it has been scientifically demonstrated that yoga can have a beneficial impact on health and play a key role in the treatment of certain problems, both physical and psychological. Musculoskeletal problems, depression, drug addiction, cardiovascular problems or even certain intestinal problems are all problems that yoga can help treat.
Yoga: a discipline for everyone
The first thing to remember is that yoga is one of the only sports that can adapt to your limits, pace and physical condition.
This feature therefore allows this discipline to be accessible to as many people as possible, provided they listen to their body and its limits to avoid the risk of injury.
The pregnant woman
Pregnant women can practice yoga. The advantages are multiple, but it is important to adapt the activity well. Indeed, given the bodily and hormonal changes (increased ligament flexibility due to relaxation) during this period, certain postures can cause strains or sprains.
It is therefore important to further control the limit of flexibility and elongation of movements. There are more and more specialized yoga classes for pregnant women and it is recommended to go to them even if you are used to yoga classes.
The practice of yoga for children is also very interesting. Awareness of his body, concentration on the present moment as well as relaxation are all aspects that the child can experience. It is obvious that the goal is not to develop flexibility or muscle strengthening as for adults, but more postural control and relaxation.
Listen to yourself to avoid injury
One of the most important things to remember when starting to practice yoga is to do it for yourself and at your own pace. The risk of injury increases when this basic is not respected and the student exceeds his limits. Certain parts of the body then become at risk of injury.
When practicing Yoga, many postures must be performed on the ground and require support on the wrists. Problems in this region are therefore common. The activity can then be adapted according to this weakness.
Inversions are commonly practiced in yoga. Although they must be learned gradually and they must be practiced with caution, it often happens that some people feel obliged to achieve this posture quickly. The cervical region is therefore more stressed and can easily be injured.
It is not uncommon for some students to compare themselves to others and to go beyond their limits. Muscular capacities and flexibility vary from one individual to another, if this difference is not taken into account, the risk of muscle strains increases.
Lower back (lower back pain)
If the postures practiced are too much forward bending or backward extension, people with lower back weakness may experience pain. Poor control of deep muscles can also cause lower back pain.
Do not forget
If you feel any discomfort, pain or abnormal sensation during a posture, stop and change position. Your instructor also has an important role in injury prevention, so don’t hesitate to talk to them about how you’re feeling and ask them to adapt their course.
Physiotherapy and yoga: together towards a healthy body
In the case of a person with a specific condition such as pain or muscle limitations, the physiotherapy professional can have a key role in the practice of yoga.
First, he informs his patient about what is contraindicated and what to avoid doing in order to continue practicing his activity without risk. It also helps him regain control of his body so as not to exceed his limits. It also improves joint alignment and muscle control, which will have a significant impact in preventing injuries, while allowing better practice of the activity.
Let’s not forget that some physiotherapy professionals also use postures or sequences inspired by yoga in the treatment of certain musculoskeletal problems.