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yoga for healthier joints

Yoga For Healthy Joints

Yoga is great for keeping joints healthy.

stiff joints

As Winter moves into Spring our bodies can respond to this change by feeling a little stiff and unwieldy.

This (thankfully for most of us) is a temporary bump in the road.

As we move deeper into the warmer months our bodies limber up.  We are, after all, coming out of hibernation.

During the winter months, we generally stay indoors more and do less activity as the days are shorter.  It is no surprise that it takes a little bit of time to find the ‘spring in our step.’

Spring and Stiffer Joints

So why does this happen?

The simple truth is our bodies are very connected energetically to seasonal changes.

This is why we can feel extra tired and sluggish in the Winter months, or hotheaded in the summer.

Seasonal Changes and How It Affects Our Bodies.

According to Chinese holistic medicine, Winter is the most yin of the seasons.

It is a time of rest and renewal.

We see this in nature as the trees and the animals hibernate and ‘sleep out’ the cold weather.

As Spring comes in the energy shifts from yin to yang, and nature reawakens.

This sharp rise in energy can feel quite intense on the body.

If we are not ready for it –  we did not rest enough (as nature intended) during the Winter months – we may feel it symptomatically.

Stiffness in the joints is one such symptom.

Instead of absorbing the energy like springy bamboo shoots, we behave more like a plank of wood.

The stiffness is stuck energy or energy that can’t get around the body easily.   If we had rested more in Winter when we were supposed to then our bodies are naturally more readily receptive to this energy surge and are less resistant.

I know from my own experience if I overdo it in Winter then I am not in the mood to spring into action with a bounce in my step and a lightness in my feet.

However, if I do take care and not overdo it I look forward to Spring and feel more energised and fresh and loose in my joints.

Yoga For Healthy Joints

The beauty of yoga is that we can modify and adapt our practice to suit the season.

Because spring is all about moving our energy freely, the following practice styles are useful.

Try some or all of the yoga tools below to get your joints feeling healthier.

Add Some Vinyasa Yoga For Healthier Joints

Vinyasa Flow style practices are great for opening up the body and freeing up any areas of stuck energy.

Heatbuilding poses such as Chair and balances like Warrior 3 are also helpful

Going back to holistic Chinese Medicine, each season is connected to a pair of organs.  Spring has the liver and gall bladder. The liver’s job is to help us detox and get rid of the Winter’s excesses so that we are ready for the more vibrant energy of spring. The liver meridian lies along the sides of the body.   Healthier joints can be achieved by stretching the line of the liver meridian.  In yoga we can achieve this by adding side bends to our practice like Triangle and Side Angle Pose.  Yin yoga is very helpful here too.

Include Yoga Therapy For Healthier Joints

Yoga is perfect for moving our joints in all the directions they need to go but we can take this one step further and focus our time directly focusing on every joint of our bodies.

One beautiful sequence that achieves this is Pavanmuktasana.

Pavanmuktasana is a series of movements that move each joint gently and systematically through their full healthy range of motion.

When you practice it you have the opportunity to get to know how healthy your joints are from the feet right up to the neck.

It will help you to figure out areas to work on and also give you a great idea of where there are differences between the left and right sides of the body.

Of course, there will be some – we are not robots after all, but we should aspire to even up the two sides of the body as much as we can.   This will help us age well and stay as injuryfree as possible.

Other benefits of this series:

  • Relieves joint pain and stiffness
  • It helps improve carpel tunnel or frozen shoulder. Often these and other conditions can be exacerbated by limited joint movement
  • Isolates muscles so you can feel where you are strong and where you are weaker.
  • Improves overall circulation and lymphatic flow (great for overall health)

 

Final Thoughts

Just for you, I have made you a quick tutorial video that focuses on freeing up the neck and shoulder joints.

If you want to learn more why not join me for my up and coming Spring yoga workshop for better joint health

If you are interested in other holistic ways you can improve your health and wellbeing over Spring I have written two other blogs on the subject.  Just click on the title to access.

 

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