Flexibility, while neglected by so many people offers an array of benefits for our overall wellness. And, for the longest time, I was one of those people until I found my love for yoga.
If you haven’t explored the world of flexibility, then here’s a few reasons why you should start your yoga practice.
Improves body awareness
Often times while working out, we’re so disconnected from our bodies — speeding through reps or lifting really heavy weights without focusing on form or posture. Stretching offers a different experience, allowing us to slow down and move with our bodies while facilitating a moment of focus and connection with our body. For me, I like to visualize each muscle fiber lengthening as I breath into the stretch or yoga position. Having a mind/body connection is so important, not only to avoid some of the most common yoga injuries, but also for overall health and well-being.
Tight muscles in the body can cause pain that often radiates to other parts of the body. For example, tightness in the trapezius (shoulders) can cause pain down the arms and into the wrists, or move upward and cause headaches from tightness in the neck. Flexibility can relax the muscles, ease tension and disperse soreness. Allowing the muscles to open and lengthen relieves back pain as well as pain in the shoulders, neck, and other areas of the body.
Supports Functional Movement
Flexibility supports everyday movement such as bending, twisting, pushing, pulling, lunging, squatting, walking, and running. When our muscles are tight, we have limited range of motion and basic everyday activities can result in injury, especially if done too quickly. When a muscle is tight, another muscle could start to compensate, which can result in injury and pain. Improving overall flexibility can promote better range of movement and comfort for the entire body.
Although there are great benefits to flexibility, it’s important to remember not to overstretch. Over stretching can cause common yoga injuries and pain such as sprains, strains, and dislocations. Pay close attention to your body, move slowly, and always remember to breathe. Stretching when the body is warm, like after a workout, is more likely to enhance your flexibility in a healthy gradual way rather than a quick overextended stretch that’s more likely to cause an injury.
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