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Body Pain Comes From Weak Communication Between Muscles And Brain, And These 5 Yoga Poses Can Help

Body Pain Comes From Weak Communication Between Muscles And Brain, And These 5 Yoga Poses Can Help

We all know that stretching,[1] to some degree, helps to relieve muscle tension and tightness. However, some complain that the benefits of stretching provides only short-term, minimal relief at best, making it a waste of time and energy. In order to truly understand muscle tightness and how to reap the benefits of stretching, one must first understand the complexities of the muscle and brain connection.

Muscle tension begins with messages from the brain to contract certain fibers in your body. Chronic stress, however, leads your brain to contract muscles of your body that are not needed in order to perform particular tasks.[2] In these instances, stretching alone will only provide minimal relief for muscles.

How Stretching Impacts The Muscles

So what happens when you stretch?[3]

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New scientific revelations show that stretching is much more complex, dynamic, and fascinating than what has previously been imagined.

We now understand that increasing our flexibility has much less to do with the physical length, size, and shape of our muscle tissue, and much more to do with the part of our body that controls and moves our muscles: our brain. Stretching regularly allows us to reach our stretch “tolerance” enough times that our brain adapts to this new level of tension and informs our muscles that this new deeper range of motion is acceptable.

5 Yoga Stretches That Improve Your Mental And Physical Range Of Motion

The best way to get your muscles to relax and reap the full benefits of stretching is by learning not to send “tense” messages from your brain to your muscles, except when they are truly needed. Chronic tension sufferers will really struggle with this, especially in the beginning, as your brain has long forgotten how to turn off those chronically tense muscles.

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Practicing yoga not only produces temporary physical benefits,[4] such as increased flexibility and range of motion, muscle strength, and improved posture, it also improves sleep, lowers cortisol levels in the brain (which is produced by stress),and improves mood and mental focus.

1. Downward Facing Dog[5]

    via AllPosters

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    • Start on all fours with your hands directly under shoulders and knees under your hips.
    • Walk your hands a few inches forward and spread your fingers wide, pressing your palms into the mat.
    • Curl toes under and slowly press hips toward the ceiling, bringing your body into an inverted V, pressing shoulders away from your ears. Feet should be hip-width apart and your knees should be slightly bent.

    2. Happy Baby Pose[6]

      • Lie on your back. With an exhale, bend your knees into your belly.
      • Inhale, grip the outsides of your feet with your hands (if you have difficulty holding the feet directly with your hands, hold onto a belt looped over each sole). Open your knees slightly wider than your torso, then bring them up toward your armpits.
      • Position each ankle directly over the knee, so your shins are perpendicular to the floor. Flex through the heels.
      • Gently push your feet up into your hands (or the belts) as you pull your hands down to create a resistance.

      3. Warrior Pose[7]

        via Ekhart Yoga

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        • Stand with legs 3 to 4 feet apart, turning your right foot out 90 degrees and your left foot in slightly.
        • Bring your hands to your hips and relax your shoulders, then extend your arms out to the sides, palms down.
        • Bend your right knee by 90 degrees, keeping your knee over your ankle. Gaze out over your right hand. Hold this position for 1 minute.

        4. Mountain Pose[8]

          via Fitness Magazine

          • Stand tall with your feet together, shoulders relaxed, weight evenly distributed through your soles, and your arms at sides.
          • Take a deep breath and raise your hands overhead, palms facing each other with your arms straight.
          • Reach up toward the sky with your fingertips.

          5. Staff Pose[9]

            via YogaBird

            • Sit on the floor with your legs together and extended in front of your torso.
            • Your sacrum and shoulder blades should touch the wall, but not your lower back or the back of your head.
            • Without hardening your belly, firm your thighs, and press them down against the floor.
            • Rotate your thighs slightly toward each other and draw your inner groins in toward the sacrum.
            • Flex your ankles, pressing out through your heels.
            • Take four deep breaths in and exhale

            According to yoga experts, the overall purpose of yoga is to create strength, awareness, and harmony in both the mind and body. When the brain and body connection is strong and in sync, chronic pain, muscle tension, and stiffness will vanish.

            Reference

            [1] Lifehack: 7 Practical Tips For Stretching
            [2] Anxiety Stress Centre: Do You Get Tensed Just Thinking about Relaxing
            [3] Yoga Dork: Stretching Is In Your Brain: A New Paradigm of Flexibility and Yoga (PART 1)
            [4] Yoga Journal: 38 Health Benefits of Yoga
            [5] Yoga Outlet: How to Do Downward-Facing Dog in Yoga
            [6] Yoga Journal: Happy Baby Pose
            [7] Fitness Magazine: Yoga Poses for Beginners
            [8] Fitness Magazine: Yoga Poses for Beginners
            [9] Yoga Journal: Staff Pose

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            Published on June 7, 2019

            10 Lower Body Workouts Anyone Can Try at Home

            10 Lower Body Workouts Anyone Can Try at Home

            Having a hard time going to the gym? Fear no more!

            In this article, we’ll be breaking down 10 in home lower body workouts anyone can try at home and their exercises. No gear needed for these workouts, just some space and a cup water waiting for your disposal.

            There’re 3 main parts in this article:

            If you’re familiar with the basic lower body exercises, just get into the first section 10 Lower Body Workouts That Can Be Done Anywhere right away.

            If you want more guidance on the basics, check out the second section Lower Body Exercises Breakdown.

            And the last section is about what you should do before and after working out.

            10 Lower Body Workouts That Can Be Done Anywhere

            If you’re familiar with the basic lower body exercises, just read on this section.

            If you’d like to have more guidance on each exercise listed in these 10 workouts, take a look at the following part Lower Body Exercises Breakdown.

            1. The Starter Workout

            3 sets of 8-12 reps of:

            • Squat
            • Single Leg Deadlift
            • Glute Bridge

            (30 sec to 2 min rest in between each set)

            2. The 7 Minute Workout

            3 rounds of 30 seconds of each exercise:

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            • Walking Lunges
            • Quarter Squat
            • Step Up
            • Single Leg Deadlift

            (1 min rest in between each round)

            3. The Unilateral Workout

            4 sets of 16 reps of:

            • Reverse Lunges
            • Single Leg Deadlift
            • Skater Squat
            • Single Leg Glute Bridge

            (30 sec to 1 min rest in between each set)

            4. The Endurance Workout

            2 sets of 20-50 reps of:

            • Squat
            • Walking Lunge
            • Single Leg Deadlift
            • Glute Bridge

            (1-2 min rest in between each set)

            5. The Back To Back Lower Body Workout

            5 rounds of 10 to 20 seconds of each exercise:

            • Skater Squat
            • Step Up
            • Single Leg Deadlift
            • Single Leg Glute Bridge
            • Quarter Squat

            (30 min rest in between each round)

            6. Strength Lower Body Workout

            5 to 10 sets of 4 reps of:

            • Walking Lunge
            • Single Leg Deadlift
            • Squat

            (30 sec to 2 mins of rest time in between set)

            7. Glute Burner Workout

            4 sets of 10-30 reps of:

            • Walking Lunge
            • Single Leg Deadlift
            • Single Leg Glute Bridge
            • Quarter Squat

            (1 min of rest time in between set)

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            8. The Advance Lower Body Workout

            3 rounds of 20 seconds of:

            • Squat
            • Walking Lunge
            • Skater Squat
            • Reverse Lunge
            • Glute Bridge
            • Single Leg Deadlift

            (2 mins of rest time in between set)

            9. The Quick Lower Body Workout

            2 sets of 10 reps of:

            • Reverse Lunge
            • Step Up
            • Single Leg Deadlift

            10. The 100 Repetition Challenge

            2 sets of 50 reps on each leg of:

            • Walking Lunge
            • Single Leg Deadlift

            (4 mins of rest time in between set)

            Lower Body Exercises Breakdown

            Here’s the breakdown of the lower body exercises[1] that you found in the workouts listed in the first section of this article.

            1. Squat

              A squat is a compound movement which entails the recruitment of a majority of your lower body (quadriceps, hamstrings, gluteal muscles, spinal erectors).

              How to squat:

              Feet shoulder width apart or a little wider. Toes pointed slightly out, arms out in front of you. Sit into your heels till you hit parallel with your butt and knee, drive through the heels, return to starting position and repeat.

              2. Walking Lunges

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                A lunge is a complex movement which recruits mainly the lower body.

                The walking lunges are a harder version of a split squat which is stationary and then adds the component of stepping and keeping balance which engages the gluteus medius as well as allowing a larger range of motion.

                3. Reverse Lunge

                  A reverse lunge is very similar to the split squat but instead, after every rep, you are returning to the starting position and stepping back.

                  By reverse stepping, you are allowing for a better emphasis on the hamstrings and gluteal muscles as opposed to the quadriceps muscles in a forward stepping lunge.

                  4. Quarter Squat

                    A quarter squat is the top ¼ movement of a squat. This will work mainly the gluteal muscles as it emphasizes the hip extension and not a lot of range of motion on the quadriceps muscles.

                    5. Skater Squat

                      A skater squat is a unilateral variation of the squat, this squat really engages the gluteus medius and hamstrings as it works unilateral stability and hip flexion which fires both the hamstrings and glutes.

                      6. Step Up

                        The Step Up is the greatest balance of getting the glutes and quadriceps muscles firing. Doing Step Ups will not only get the glutes going, but the quadriceps as well.

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                        7. Glute Bridge

                          Glute Bridges are a great way to nearly isolate the glutes and build a great butt. This entire movement works through hip extension which the main movement of the gluteal muscles.

                          8. Single Leg Glute Bridge

                            Single leg glute bridge ensures that we are evenly building the glutes and not relying too heavily on our dominant leg and symmetrical butt. The step up can be done in a chair or a step in the stairs

                            9. Single Leg Deadlift

                              Single Leg RDL’s engage that entire booty and hamstrings, especially the gluteus medius due to its unilateral stability property. This is a great way to spice up some routine deadlifts.

                              Before & After Working Out

                              Before engaging in any physical activity, consult a doctor if you have not worked out in years. However, if you want to go at it without consulting a doctor, start slow and build your way up. Even though it’s home workout, use dynamic stretching or some light jogging[2] as a warm up before starting the lower body workouts.

                              Finally, at the end of the lower body workout, use static stretching to reduce injuries and to calm down your heart rate gradually.

                              Featured photo credit: Gesina Kunkel via unsplash.com

                              Reference

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