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Imagine how relaxed you'd feel if every day ended with a soothing massage. Unfortunately, a daily massage would be a very expensive indulgence, considering masseuses charge an average rate of $60 per hour, according to the University of Minnesota. Thanks to yoga, it's possible to experience the many benefits of massage at absolutely no cost.
Yoga Offers the Perfect Antidote to Muscle and Joint Pain
Your daily routine takes a toll on your muscles and joints. Whether your job requires heavy lifting or you spend most of the day in a chair, you probably feel a little sore at the end of your shift. Aches and pains tend to occur when your muscles remain contracted for long periods of time. Tight muscles put additional stress on your joints and can even force them out of alignment.
Poor posture can be an issue if you spend all day behind the wheel of a car or truck or sit in a chair that's not ergonomically correct. Posture issues add even more stress to joints and can leave you feeling so tired and sore at the end of the day that you don't want to do anything but collapse on the couch.
Just like massage, yoga poses improve flexibility and reduce pain caused by stiff muscles and joints. When you perform downward facing dog or the bound angle pose, your muscles gradually relax and stiffness diminishes.
Improved range of motion, a benefit of a good massage, can also be achieved by practicing yoga. Your inability to reach an item on a high shelf or climb the stairs without pain may be due to tight muscles that limit your ability to move your joints freely. As you perform yoga poses, your muscles gradually loosen, increasing your range of motion.
If tight joints and muscles are a chronic issue, you may want to try a few twisting poses, like Seated Spinal Twist, the Noose Pose or the Revolved Triangle. The poses not only increase joint and muscle flexibility but also relax and lengthen tendons, ligaments and connective tissue. Be sure to keep your spine long and elongated as you perform the twists.
Yoga Boosts Circulation and Keeps Fatigue and Stress at Bay
Yoga improves circulation as effectively as a good massage. Increased blood flow to your joints and muscles boosts your energy level, hastens tissue healing, and helps your fingers and toes feel warmer during the cold winter months.
When you practice yoga regularly, your lymph drainage system also operates more efficiently. The lymphatic system removes waste products and toxins from your body and moves white blood cells back and forth from the bones. If the system becomes sluggish, you may notice a variety of symptoms, ranging from brain fog to constipation to bloating.
Massage offers a good way to lower stress, but it's not the only effective stress reduction method. Performing yoga poses prompts your body to produce endorphins, neurotransmitters that help you feel calm and content. The combination of yoga poses, yogic breathing, and meditation provides an all-natural stress reduction method that you can use practically anywhere.
Have you been considering trying yoga? Our classes are geared to all levels and can help you reduce those aches and pains that are an unfortunate part of life. Contact us for information about our current class schedule.
University of Minnesota: How Much Does Massage Therapy Cost?
Shape: The Best Yoga Poses for Self-Massage
Yoga Journal: Let’s Twist Again, 8/28/07
Yoga Journal: Poses for Your Upper Back