When you think of yoga, you might envision some interesting pretzel-like contortions where people put their body and limbs in positions that make you cringe, but it’s more than that. Yoga is also used to stretch muscles and tendons to improve flexibility and to alleviate back and neck pain. If you want to enjoy these benefits of yoga, you should learn more about it, but you should also look beyond the new age stigma attached to it.
The positions you see when people practice yoga are called asanas. Asanas encompass a range of stretches, poses, and stances that have been used for thousands of years in eastern countries, especially India. Thousands of years ago yoga was more than an exercise. It was a spiritual quest for balance. Today, many people only focus on it’s ability to relieve muscle, ligament, tendon, and joint pain. It also boosts your flexibility and range of motion. If you practice yoga on a regular basis, you will also find that it reduces stress and allows you to relax.
If you’re still thinking that yoga poses, stances, and stretches are out of your reach, you’ll be happy to know that’s not how it works. Not every pose is something you can achieve as a beginner or even as an intermediate user of yoga. Since this form of exercise is designed to stretch tight and shortened muscles, over time you will find you’re able to do more of the poses and stances that once had you baffled.
The beginner’s goal is to learn the proper way to engage the pose, stance, or stretch first. You don’t have to be able to stretch as far as someone who has been practicing yoga for months or years. You aren’t to overdo it. Only go as far as is comfortable and let it happen as you gain flexibility. Your body will heal and adapt as you go.
It’s wise to make sure you are healthy enough and that you don’t have any spinal irregularities or health conditions that would be worsened by yoga. It’s not for everyone. Consult with your physician, chiropractor, or physiotherapist before diving into yoga for back and neck pain. You may be able to perform some asanas, but not all, or you may have to find other avenues for treating your back and neck pain.
Find a qualified instructor in your local area before you try to jump into practicing yoga on your own. A good instructor helps you learn the proper way to do the asanas and will help you progress as you should without overdoing it. They are there to encourage and support you, but they won’t let you doing anything that you aren’t physically or mentally prepared for or able to do.
If you truly want to reduce your neck and back pain, help your body heal, find a way to relax, and/or enhance your flexibility, try yoga. As long as you’re physically able to do this, you will reap the benefits of this practice. It’s perfect for people who sit or stand a lot for their jobs, or are in high-stress careers.