Advertising
Advertising

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]

Advertising

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.

Advertising

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

    Advertising

    • 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

        Advertising

        • 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

            More by this author

            Denise Hill

            Speech Writer/Senior Editor

            Why It’s Never Too Late To Redefine Yourself 30 Best Business Podcasts That Help Entrepreneurs Become Successful 20 Simple Ways to Bring Positive Energy into Your Life Right Now Day 10 Shocking! Exercise Right After Eating Ain’t That Bad for Health The 10 Best Nonfiction Books Of All Time You Should Not Miss

            Trending in Exercise

            1 8 Yoga Poses to Help You Achieve Strong and Toned Inner Thighs 2 5 Breathing Exercises for Anxiety (Simple and Calm Anxiety Quickly) 3 3 Home Exercises To Fix Your Rounded Shoulders In One Month 4 Workout Every Day: Thursday Music Playlist 5 Cut down on drinking! Time for a post-holiday detox

            Read Next

            Advertising
            Advertising
            Advertising

            Published on April 12, 2019

            7 Best Weight Loss Supplements That Are Healthy and Effective

            7 Best Weight Loss Supplements That Are Healthy and Effective

            The proceeding article has been written from my own personal experience with weight loss, along with research I’ve personally conducted, and from conversations I’ve held with individuals in the health and wellness space. The below suggestions for supplements are being given under the pretence that you will in fact investigate these substances further to conclude if they make sense for you personally or not.

            I’m a huge proponent of research and information, and also suggest you consider a DNA analysis test such as ones available through companies like Ansestory and 23andme. You can download your raw DNA data, and then upload it to FoundMyFitness Genetics – Genome Analysis Tool by Dr. Rhonda Patrick, or Promethease.

            The purpose of uploading your raw DNA data is in order to gather information pertaining to supplementation, dietary habits, and albeit lifestyle decisions that will be optimal/in accordance with your genealogy. You can then apply this information in your day to day life in order to become the best version of you!

            Before we dive into the list of supplements, ask the following question first:

            Do You Need Supplements?

            The short answer is not really, however as mentioned above, you may want to consider certain supplements by the mere fact that they are suggestible for your gene type.

            An example of this for me personally is a genetic predisposition to Vitamin D deficiency, which came up in my comprehensive DNA report. With this information in mind, I make an active effort to supplement Vitamin D, and get my butt into some sunlight as often as possible!

            So in certain cases supplements may not be totally required, but highly advisable.

            When I began losing weight several years back, many thoughts ran through my mind, from bogus weight loss supplements, to even considering the quick and easy liposuction of 40-50lbs.

            However when I took a moment to listen to my own instinct and intuition, the truth about these ideologies is that they do not solve the root of the problem – lifestyle choices.

            My general opinion on supplementation for weight loss is that one need not focus on substances or external things in order to achieve weight loss.

            Advertising

            When I was losing weight, after having gained it through silly lifestyle choices (to keep things short), my focus was not on supplements but on the consistent effort towards maximal weight loss and fat loss.

            In order to maximize weight/fat loss — I’ve discussed many times over the importance of incorporating Intermittent Fasting (Time-Restricted Eating), in conjunction with high activity levels throughout the week.

            Simply put, you need to consider how you structure your eating, as well as the amount of exercise, effort, and overall exertion – leading to daily caloric expenditure.

            Get yourself in a healthy caloric deficit, not by starving yourself, but by exercising, eating healthy and within a Time-Restricted “eating window”.

            7 Supplements To Consider for Weight Loss

            1. Caffeine or Green Tea/Extract (Matcha)

            This is one of the quickest and most easily accessible supplements for weight loss.

            Caffeine can boost the metabolic rate and increase fat burning. However, people become tolerant to the effects, and as such its impact will slowly diminish.

            Matcha is derived from the same plant as Green Tea – Camellia sinensis. Matcha tea is low in calories, and high in antioxidants such as Epigallocatechin Gallate (EGCG). Scientists at the University of Colorado found that the EGCG content in matcha is 137 times more than Chinese green tea. These antioxidants can help flush out toxins, boost immunity, and reduce the body’s inflammation, which helps prevent weight gain and accelerates weight loss.

            Matcha can boost metabolism and aid in fat burning while also balancing blood glucose levels.

            2. Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA)

            Your body naturally produces alpha-lipoic acid, but it’s also found in a variety of foods and as a dietary supplement typically in pill form.

            ALA is an organic compound found in all human cells, made inside the mitochondria – where it helps enzymes turn nutrients into energy. Some research suggests that it may play a roll in weight loss, diabetes and more. There have also been antioxidant properties associated with ALA such as the ability to lower blood sugar levels, reduce inflammation, reduce skin ageing, and improve nerve function.

            Advertising

            You can obtain ALA without supplementation from animal products such as red meat and organ meats, along with plant foods like broccoli, tomatoes, spinach and Brussels sprouts.

            Animal studies have indicated that ALA can reduce the activity of the enzyme AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK), located in your brain’s hypothalamus. Meanwhile, human studies conducted showed that alpha-lipoic acid has only a slight impact on weight loss. An analysis of 12 studies discovered that people who took an alpha-lipoic acid supplement lost an average of 1.52 pounds (0.69 kg) more than those taking a placebo over an average of 14 weeks.

            Personally I use ALA on and off when I’m looking to cut weight.

            3. Glutamine

            Generally speaking, Glutamine is beneficial because it improves the maintenance of muscle mass, which in turn helps burn more fat.

            By introducing Glutamine to your diet it will also yield anti-inflammatory benefits and help reduce cravings for high-glycemic carbohydrates.

            Foods that are high in glutamine include meat, seafood, milk, nuts, eggs, cabbage and beans.[1]

            4. Krill Oil

            High in omega-3 fatty acids, which yields various health benefits, including improved heart and brain health, a reduced risk of depression and even healthier skin.

            Researchers have suggested that fish oil omega-3s may help people lose weight more easily.

            Studies have concluded that while both fish-sourced and krill-sourced omega-3 fats are effective in reducing fat levels, krill is more effective. The mechanisms of how this is so had not been made clear in the study, but suggested long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LCPUFAs) can reduce activity in the endocannabinoid system. The endocannabinoid system consists of a group of neuromodulatory lipids and receptors that influence appetite, pain sensation, mood and memory.

            Researchers found that, when parameters associated with obesity were considered, krill oil reduced heart fat levels in rats by 42 percent, compared to 2 percent for fish oils.

            Advertising

            I personally shifted from Alaskan Wild Salmon fish oils to Krill Oil due to the fact that it’s more potent and overall more effective, though the cost of the supplement is slightly more.

            5. Apple Cider Vinegar

            Many would note that apple cider vinegar is a low calorie drink; however, my focus on noting this supplement is relating to suppressing fat accumulation which was found in animal studies.

            A team of researchers also investigated the effects on obese Japanese in a double-blind trial. Daily intake of apple cider vinegar may be practical in the prevention of metabolic syndrome by reducing obesity.

            Additionally, some studies suggest that apple cider vinegar helps stabilise blood sugar levels, and primarily after consuming a high carbohydrate meal.

            There’s many other benefits of apple cider vinegar to note, however they don’t directly correlate with weight loss, so for now I’ll leave them unmentioned, but encourage you look further into this powerful supplement.

            6. L-Carnitine

            This supplement is a bit speculative, and I haven’t had too much personal experience with it, thus it’s towards the bottom of the list.

            L-Carnitine plays a crucial role in the production of energy by transporting fatty acids into your cells’ mitochondria – which acts as engines within your cells, burning fats to create usable energy. This helps move more fatty acids into your cells to be burned for energy, so it’s suggested this would increase the ability to burn fat and thus lose weight. However, results of both human and animal studies are mixed in this case.

            This is one of those supplements that may work for one person, but not another, and it’s highly discussed and debated in the bodybuilding and fat loss community.

            I suggest you look further into L-Carnitine, and perhaps experiment on a trial to see if you notice any improvements in weight loss and fat reduction.

            7. Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) [Bonus]

            CLA is a naturally occurring fatty acid found in meat and dairy products. This supplement is gaining popularity and has become widely regarded as a contender for the weight-loss miracle pill.

            Advertising

            Though I personally do not think such a magic pill exists, it’s certainly fun to throw around the term ‘miracle’ and generates a lot of buzz in doing so.

            During a trial, one group of overweight women lost 9% body fat in one year’s time without any adjustments in lifestyle or eating habits.

            Now, don’t take this as a suggestion to not improve lifestyle, as I introduced this article with the pretence that it’s the most important aspect of losing weight.

            In a few small animal studies, CLA has been shown to prevent heart disease and several types of cancer, while appearing to enhance the immune system. Human studies are not as conclusive as they used body fat scales (such as DEXA – Dual-Energy X-Ray Absorptiometry) to measure improvements, which are inherently not that accurate.

            This is another one of those supplements I suggest researching further, and trialling in conjunction with lifestyle adjustments to see if it works for you.

            The Bottom Line

            Once again I can’t stress enough that merely supplementing for weight loss will not yield exponential results – you must exercise, move your body, and I highly advise introducing Intermittent Fasting/Time-Restricted Eating if you haven’t already done so.

            Please research more into these supplements to determine if they make sense for you. And I don’t suggest using all at once as you won’t be able to accurately gauge which are most effective – cycle through them by taking one, two, upwards of 3 supplements at any given time. If you want to experiment, then switch after a couple months of use.

            I wish you the best of luck with your weight loss journey and if would like to learn more about the above supplements, take a look at my video here:

            Featured photo credit: bruce mars via unsplash.com

            Reference

            Read Next