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Improve Your Bone Health With These 6 Special Yoga Practices

Improve Your Bone Health With These 6 Special Yoga Practices

Yoga is an excellent way of having a healthy mind and body. One of the advantages of yoga is that it helps in keeping the bones healthy and strong.[1] Yoga is excellent for strengthening bones because it is a weight bearing exercise; it is isometric and low impact. The exercises are gentle on the joints and cartilage. Strong bones are essential as they help in bringing balance to the body and providing good posture. There is a misconception among people that bones weaken with age but it actually happens because of bad daily habits.

Here are some of the yoga poses that will help in making sure that your bones stay strong and healthy:

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1.  Trikonasana

The pose is also known as extended triangle pose and it has a lot of advantages. It is an excellent pose for increasing the flexibility of the spine and it also helps in relieving gastritis. It is an excellent way of stretching the whole body. It is good for making sure that the lower body stays strong. It is not just good for stretching the lower body, but also effective for the bones in the lower body region. It is effective in providing flexibility to the flat feet and, if it is practiced regularly, it can also help in stretching the ankles and calves so that an arch is created.

2. Vrksasana

It is also known as the tree pose. To make sure that you are doing the pose right you should get the help of a yoga instructor. It is not a very complicated or difficult pose but it is highly useful for the bones. It helps in stimulating the pelvic bones, shoulder bones, and spine. It is an excellent exercise for the prevention of deformities of the spine, weaknesses in the shoulder and legs and also rheumatoid arthritis. The exercise is also recommended to people who are looking to improve their balance as it helps in strengthening the arches and bones of the feet. In the beginning, if you are finding it difficult to achieve this pose then you should start by standing against the wall as it will help in achieving better balance.

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3. Utkatasana

The pose is also known as the chair pose. It is a perfect exercise for making the bones of the lower body strong. It is extremely good for the lower body such as the ankles, legs, hips, and thighs. It is a simple yoga pose that is easy to understand and imitate. The pose helps in stretching the calf muscles along with the Achilles’ tendon. It is an extremely beneficial exercise for people with flat feet. The exercise is not just focused on lower body strength; it is also good for flexing the muscles of the chest and shoulders. It makes the bones of the entire body strong and is good for increasing stamina. In the beginning, you can make the exercise easier by using the support of a wall to achieve balance.

4. Ardha Matsyendrāsana

It is one of the best poses for getting healthy and strong bones. It is also known as the seated twisting pose. It is good for the bones, especially the ones in the back and neck. It puts pressure on the back and neck and not just helps in stimulating the production of bones but also assists in relaxing them. It is an excellent exercise for the promotion of bone health. You can opt for milder twists, which are effective in stretching the back muscles and putting very little pressure on the vertebrae.

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5. Bhujangasana

The pose is also known as the cobra pose. It is highly effective in increasing the strength of the bones. It is good for developing better lower-back support and also assists in achieving an upright posture. It is very helpful in dealing with the deformities of a spine as it makes the backbone strong and healthy. The cobra pose is also good for strengthening the bones of the hands, arms and pelvis as these muscles are also involved in the exercise. It is good for the prevention of serious problems with the fingers or wrist arthritis.

6. Salabhasana

The pose is also known as the locust pose and, when it is practiced regularly, it can help in improving the flexibility of the bones and increasing the strength of the thigh bones. It is perfect for stimulating the backbone and increasing the strength of not just the arms but also the legs. In the beginning, you should put a blanket under your thighs and abdomen to get support.

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Featured photo credit: esesme.com via esesme.com

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Kevin Jones

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Published on March 8, 2019

How Adding Flow Yoga to Your Workout Routine Boosts Your Gains

How Adding Flow Yoga to Your Workout Routine Boosts Your Gains

When we fall into a workout routine, our moves become automatic, and the body quickly adapts. This is called muscle memory.[1] While teaching your body how to properly execute squats, push-ups, or crunches is a benefit, overly relying on these moves to consistently grow gains won’t yield the kind of results you want. That’s because the muscles work in the same way every time.

Simply put, they’re not being “surprised,” so they get lazy.

Supplementing your routine with flow yoga is one way of surprising your muscles, especially if you are new to the yoga practice and have never tried the postures. It’s like taking a new road home when you drive, deviating from your usual route. Science has found that by doing so, you’re creating new neuropathways in your brain.[2] The same is done in your muscles when you try a new routine.

How is this done? Let’s dive right into it.

How Flow Yoga Boost Your Gains in Your Workout Routine

Think about your current workouts:

If you lift weights, you rely on external tools to engage your various muscle groups. Over time, your shoulders, legs, or biceps will come to expect the weighted plates or dumbbells, in the repetitive sequences that you remember.

In flow yoga, we use the body as the weight. Add gravity and hundreds of different postures and combinations, and you have a workout that uses the same muscle groups, but in many different ways.

A pose such as plank is a full-body workout, with every muscle engaged to keep the body in one long line. While it’s a stationary pose, it requires muscle control and activation, with no room for passivity.

    A Flow sequence, on the other hand, requires your muscle to switch from one pose to another swiftly, providing you with a more balanced and wholesome use of your major muscle groups.

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    Not only do these poses and routines re-energize the body in a refreshing way, they also allow you to learn something new, which is powerful for the mind.

    Bottom line? Complementing your exercise regimen with flow yoga is like hitting the shuffle button on your workouts, using your muscles in ways that “surprise” them, which in turn boost their growth and performance.

    Energizing Flow Yoga with Added Cardio

    Flow yoga is also known as “Vinyasa.”[3] In Sanskrit – the sacred language of the practice and its Indian roots – Vinyasa is roughly translated to “one breath, one movement.”

    This guideline, first and foremost, enhances your breathing, and teaches you how to go from our typical shallow, chest-only breathing, to a more deeper, belly-chest breath that uses the entire lung system.

    Not only is this beneficial for a myriad of healthcare reasons (combat allergies, eliminate toxins, reduce stress, ease anxiety), it also greatly impacts our muscles,[4] and therefore our workout.

    Flooding your muscles with rich oxygen will only keep them healthy, while the cardio benefit will get you warmed up to take on the more challenging postures in a flow yoga class. This prevents injuries and cramping.

    The best example of energizing cardio in flow yoga is the Sun Salutation sequence. Each pose is completed on an inhale or an exhale, until the sequence is finished. One full sequence may be repeated several times, encouraging you to take fuller and deeper breaths. The cycles warm up and loosen the body and prepare the muscles for stationary poses that are held longer.

    Here’s how to do a Sun Salutation Flow:

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    Due to the Sun Salutations, the muscles are not thrown into a challenging workout, but rather primed and prepared with energizing breath.

    Why is this important, you ask? Because happy muscles are warmed-up muscles.

    The Best Thing About Flow Yoga

    The best thing about practicing flow yoga? You’re building strength and flexibility.

    Strength and flexibility are like the Mecca of a wholesome workout routine. Before we get into why this is important, let’s break these two down individually to see how they stand up on their own:

    Meet Strong Stan

    Strong Stan is at the gym, doing bicep curls with massive dumbbells. His muscles have peaked in size, and he proudly displays them.

    While he loves to lift weights, Strong Stan often skips stretching or warm-ups. He just doesn’t see how that could help him continue his muscle gains, so he jumps right into a heavy workout.

    While it’s not evident to a passerby, Stan’s muscles are hurting. Without sufficient flexibility or deliberate stretching, Stan’s muscles are shortening and getting tighter. This eventually leads to joint injuries,[5] because un-stretched muscles have limited range of motion.

    Big muscles are a sure indicator of strength, but here’s the kicker – choosing not to prioritize flexibility will keep them inherently at risk.

    Meet Flexible Fiona

    Flexible Fiona is in a flow yoga class, easing herself into a backbend.[6] She effortlessly gets into the pose, and “hangs” out there for a few breaths while the teacher cues the class.

    Even though the teacher instructs the students to engage their glutes and be mindful that this is an active pose, Flexible Fiona opts otherwise, and relaxes into the posture by sacrificing the strength she ought to be building.

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    To many in the class, Fiona’s execution of the backbend would be a success – maybe even something to envy. However, what Fiona doesn’t realize is that her excessive flexibility is actually a detriment to her joints.[7]

    Flexibility has been defined as the “absolute range of motion” by Tony Gummerson, Martial Arts instructor. For people who are naturally flexible, that line of absolute range is often blurry and, in practice, overlooked.

    It’s very easy for Fiona to go above and beyond her range of motion, since her flexibility parameters are much wider than what Strong Stan may experience in a similar pose.

    Because she doesn’t feel the stretch in the same degree of motion as other students in class, Fiona has to push the envelope of her flexibility. This puts too much pressure on the joints that are already overworked, and it overstretches the muscles that are now prone to tearing.

    Your goal is to create muscle and joint balance and wholeness.

    What Strong Stan and Flexible Fiona have in common is that they’re both missing vital pieces of muscle awareness.

    In Stan’s case, heavy and tight muscles crave flexibility. Without it, not only would Stan hit a plateau in his gains because of a sure injury, but he would miss out on having the lean and toned muscles that we all want to have.

    In Fiona’s case, her overstretched muscles are not getting a workout at all. Rather, her excessive flexibility is resting on her joints, which leads to definite injury.

    So what can you do? It’s quite simple.

    You have to give your muscles the opposite of what they’re used to.

    If you’re a Stan and hate stretching, focusing on your flexibility is key. You will lengthen your tight muscles, and you’ll create new muscle memory by practicing routines that are new to you and your muscle groups.

    If you’re a Fiona and hate strengthening, focusing on this priority is vital. Your muscles are used to being passive as you stretch, so shaking up the usual and putting them to work will not only keep you injury-free, but that much closer to the muscle gains you’ve been looking for.

    Fortunately, flow yoga is the whole package, and can be the one-stop-shop for both Stan and Fiona.

      Final Thoughts

      If you’re serious about using flow yoga to supplement your workout routine to boost gains, sign up for a class at your local gym or yoga studio. There are a number of styles of yoga to try, but as we’ve discussed in this article, the Vinyasa style is your best bet to complement a moderate exercise regimen.

      Many studios offer beginner-style Vinyasa classes, where the instructor will explain the basics, and break down the sequences in a pace that is suitable for entry-level students. From here, the student can build upon their practice, and opt for more challenging, fast-paced classes, such as Power Flow or Ashtanga.

      Working out is a lesson in teaching your muscles. The gains that we grow are the result of that experience, and it all comes down to conditioning our body in a way that is healthy, efficient, and balanced.

      With a practice like flow yoga, we can offer supplemental training to our current regimen that will work our muscles in ways that are new, refreshing, and “surprising.” This method will keep our muscles toned and lean, as long as we prioritize the balance between strength and flexibility to ensure that we’re meeting both of these needs. Our muscle gains and body health depend on it.

      More Resources About Yoga and Fitness

      Featured photo credit: Edit Sztazics via unsplash.com

      Reference

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