By Faye Martins
Yoga can be a wonderful form of therapy for a number of skeletal ailments. This is the reason why yoga teacher training courses spend so much time on skeletal anatomy, precautions, and alignment. The bodies’ joints provide cushion where two bones intersect. Some of the major joints in the body are the knees, ankles, shoulders, spine, wrists and elbows. Over time, because of disuse or as a result of specific ailments, like arthritis, the joints can become inflamed and painful. Yoga can help reduce or eliminate the discomfort of joint pain.
The joints are made up of cartilage and fluid, which help the joints glide smoothly. The fluid also supplies the cartilage with oxygen and nutrients. The more we move our joints, the healthier they become and the easier they move. Yoga postures help encourage this fresh blood flow and new oxygen supply throughout the entire body.
When joints become inflamed, they are often red, swollen and painful. In a response to heal itself, the body begins to produce too much fluid surrounding the joint. Students with injured joints must be careful not to further exacerbate the problem by working the joint too hard. Yoga instructors should remind students to stop if there is pain associated with the inflamed joint. Instead, students should focus on working the rest of the body in order to provide adequate nourishment to those joints that need it most.
Sometimes joints are sore simply because they aren’t used enough. Someone with stiff joints might just need to move them a little more to increase range of motion and fluidity in movement. Yoga will also help strengthen the muscles associated with each joint, improving flexibility and movement. There are a few postures that will target specific joints within the body, helping them perform better over time.
The leg raise tones the spine and improves the knee joint. Students can use a strap or keep a slight bend in the knee to achieve the posture.
Lying Leg Hug - Dwipada Supta Pawanmuktasana
This pose relieves tension from the spine and acidity from the entire body. It will help all of the bodies’ joints by renewing the flow of energy.
Lying Abdominal Twist - Supta Udarakarshanasana
An abdominal twist relieves the joints in the back while also helping to renew blood and oxygen flow to the rest of the body.
Half Locust - Ardha Shalabhasana
This posture strengthens the spine and pelvis while relieving any tension in the joints of the knee or spine.
Downward Dog - Adho Mukha ?v?n?sana
Downward dog strengthens the legs and the abdomen, which takes pressure off the hips and knees. It also helps renew blood flow throughout the body, as it is an inverted pose.
© Copyright 2012 – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division
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