Yoga - Cementing the Mind-Body Connection
Updated: May 3, 2020
When it comes to my clients, a chief concern of theirs is losing joint mobility and spinal stabilization. As we get older, we lose about 10% muscle mass per decade (sarcopenia), and our connective tissue unfortunately loses some of its elasticity. What can we do to combat this?
Yoga is more than just a moving meditative practice. It sharpens our neuromuscular response, thus impacting our natural motor control. It improves our soft tissue extensibility and contractility. It reduces joint stiffness and enhances our range of motion. Each pose is carefully and intricately connected to the next, allowing each breath to follow our movement. Take a simple sun salutation. Each pose not only links to our breath, but it also taps into our muscular strength. The plank encourages us to tense our core and engage our abdominal cavity. Chataranga taps into our triceps and biceps as we slowly lower our elbows. Upward dog allows a deep stretch of our lumbar and spinal extensors (hello spinal flexibility)! Downward dog, one of the more recognized yoga poses, is a powerhouse when it comes to flexion and extension. You're simultaneously flexing your shoulder and hips, dorsiflexing your feet, and allowing thoracic spine extension as well as calf/lat mobility.
When I started my first yoga practice, I was both apprehensive and skeptical. After all, the yoga narrative I had seen in media usually included extremely advanced poses and flexibility (which I had a severe lack of). Whenever we did the v-sit test in school, I was the one who truly struggled in getting anywhere close to touching my toes.
Fast forward one year. Yoga is my escape, my appreciation for the present moment. My ability to wash away anxiety of the future has sharpened. Most importantly: I'm able to sit in a state of peace, allowing worries to truly dissipate.
Yoga is not predicated on a 'one size fits all' principle. Restorative yoga focuses on stretching and relaxation poses, while 'Power Yoga' is more aerobic in nature. If you're ever looking for a Yoga fusion class that offers a perfect blend of strength, balance and flexibility, I highly recommend you check out a few formats to see what works best for you!