Hello fellow readers, I hope that all of you had a smooth transition into the fall season. Today I am going to address a hot topic regarding health and wellness. In the past week, I have had an increasing number of patients ask me what they can do to alleviate their back pain or achy joint pain from rigorous exercise like cross-fit or long distance running. Of course my patients get better with acupuncture treatments, but what do they do when they're not at my office receiving a treatment?
The answer: YOGA. I have been practicing yoga for the last decade. I was first introduced to yoga back in spring of 2000 during college and it has changed my life! Yoga has helped me relieve acute stress, decrease my lower back pain associated with stiff achy muscles and it has helped aid in my digestive function. When I feel restless or a sugar craving coming on, I do yoga!
Most people don't know the amazing benefits of Yoga practice. Here are just a few:
Increased Lubrication of the Joints, Ligaments and Tendons
All of the different yoga positions allow for fluids to free flow through these areas of the body and in turn this helps to alleviate pain associated with rigorous exercise. It can also prevent everyday wear and tear of the body.
The body which could feel rigid will start to experience a remarkable flexibility with "difficult/Yang" yoga positions, creating work for those small muscles that we rarely work out. Then there are the “easy to do/ YIN” yoga positions that work the major muscle groups of the body. When done together the Yin and Yang yoga positions work harmoniously to create an environment in the body where flexibility is easily attained.
Massaging of the Internal Organs
Yoga helps to actively massage your internal organs and glands like the Thyroid. This stimulation and massage of the organs benefit us in many ways, such as preventing disease by promoting homeostasis within the endocrine system. Deep breathing during these yoga positions also help with the stimulation of internal organs and glands. Studies show that this stimulation helps to improve sleep for cancer patients.
Builds Great Muscle Tone
Muscles that have become weak, flaccid or atrophied are stimulated repeatedly and this helps to shed excess flab and flaccidity. Nice shapely legs and arms are an added bonus!
By gently stretching muscles and joints as well as massaging the various organs, yoga ensures the optimum blood supply to various parts of the body. This helps in the flushing out of toxins from every nook and cranny as well as providing nourishment to all the tissues in the body. All of which leads to benefits like delayed aging, increased energy and a zest for life.
Yoga practice itself will be able to show you the immeasurable benefits of what yoga can do for you. So, join me in the pursuit of connecting with the body, the breath and the Qi flow of it all.
Without further ado, I present to you the basic steps to complete a sun salutation. Just follow the photos below and do it at your own pace.
Dr. Amorette LaFranchi, L.Ac., DACM