Mel Davis, Sports Chiropractor at Back 2 Balance (chiropractic and massage clinic) in Hove, writes about her journey in and out of yoga. Mel describes the health benefits that one gets from stretching and challenging the human body, and increase flexibility inside the joints.
When i was in my 20’s I didn’t have much time for yoga. I was too busy studying, playing sports, working and rushing around socialising etc. However, since hitting my 30’s, I find myself gravitating more and more towards yoga. Maybe because my personal philosophy is changing? Maybe because I’ve accrued various injuries along the way? Or maybe because I learn from my clients who are either very stressed or the exact opposite…those that are really chilled out?!
Those that are more chilled out tend to be the ones who practice relaxation techniques such as yoga.
My journey with yoga began a couple of years ago when I was in Sri Lanka. I was doing a fair amount of surfing everyday and found as the days went on I was feeling tighter and more restricted in my body (I didn’t have access to a chiropractor out there). Yoga is popular over there so I started going to classes. My first session was tough…I couldn’t do all the positions and I struggled through the breathing too. It was challenge enough to make me want to continue and to see the improvement in my own flexibility and breathing practice.
I am not flexible. Definitely not. I could barely touch my lower shins (my excuse is that I have long legs and short arms) but the truth is that my physiology/anatomy dictates that my ligaments are very stable and ‘tighter’ than average. I also have ‘deep’ hip joints so the ball and socket will only move so much. Some people are naturally flexible…their ligaments are looser, their sockets are more shallow. They will always be able to touch their toes no matter what.
And so I have learnt that yoga for me keeps me just about average on the flexibility scale. My shoulders are much looser (this helps with tennis and work), my hips are much looser (this helps with running) and I have a better understanding of my breathing and relaxation. Being able to live more in the present time. Being able to switch off. Being able to put myself in a posture where a year or two ago I would’t even attempt.
Because there are so many different types of yoga it is pretty much for anyone. It ranges from being quite intense to being exceedingly gentle so it’s a case of finding the right one for you. Once you’ve found the right one….you’ll see why it’s so popular 🙂
Stretching and meditation both have current evidence backing it up. Stretching helps reset your joint nerve endings (proprioceptors) and keeps the joint margins free from degeneration. Movement improves the flow of nutrients inside and around the joints. Meditation for even 5 minutes have been shown to give you massive benefits including, but not limited to, reduced stress hormones and better quality of sleep.
Good luck with your journey…why not tell us where you are with your flexibility and what you do to help improve your present time consciousness? Do you have a stretch routine?