Yoga is a simple yet powerful way to stay active. It not only helps maintain a healthy body but also an active mind and soul. It helps people manage stress and pain. Yoga focuses on breathing thus helping the body energize and relax thus making your nervous system more stable.
Secondly, while we practice yoga, we move in different ways and planes of motion thus it works like a complete reset for our posture. Right posture prevents pain and a wholesome yoga practice with a variety of poses and mindful breathing reduces chronic pain and stiffness in muscles or joints.
Here are a few strengthening and stretching postures that will be helpful in managing muscle pain and stiffness.
Cat Cow Pose
The cat-cow pose is a gentle, simple pose that includes backbend stretches and helps mobilise the spine as well. This pose helps stretch your torso, shoulders, and neck. It helps the core muscles to engage and relax, helping them work and strengthen.
This yoga pose focuses on various muscle groups like erector spinae, rectus abdominis, triceps, serratus anterior, and gluteus maximus.
You can follow these steps:
Go on all fours
Your wrists go underneath your shoulders, and your knees should be placed underneath your hips
Make sure you balance your weight evenly on all fours
Breathe in and look up, let your stomach drop down toward the mat
Breathe out and tuck your chin into your chest, draw your navel toward your spine, and your spine should be arched towards the ceiling
Maintain focus while you practise this pose
Focus on releasing tension in your body
Hold the pose for at least one minute
The child's pose may be helpful for your hips and back, relaxing them and allowing them to stretch. In this pose, you will have to kneel and sit on your knees.
Lean forward while keeping your buttocks on your heels, and rest your forehead on the floor. Place your arms next to your legs, palms facing up. Try to inhale and exhale slowly and deeply. Complete at least eight breaths.
If you find it difficult to rest your forehead on the floor, give this a try. Kneel and sit on your knees with your knees slightly apart. Lean forward and fold your arms in front of you on the floor. Now rest your forehead on your arms and continue inhaling and exhaling.
Downward Dog Pose
This is one of the traditional yoga poses in which you bend forward. It can be restful and rejuvenating. This pose can help relieve back pain and sciatica. It helps manage imbalances and improves strength.
The pose focuses on muscles like hamstrings, deltoids, gluteus maximus, triceps, and quadriceps. You should:
Get on all fours.
Your hands should be aligned under your wrists and your knees under your hips.
Press into your hands, tuck your toes, and lift up your knees.
Move your sitting bones slowly up toward the ceiling.
Slightly bend your knees and lengthen your spine and tailbone.
Your heels should be slightly off the ground.
Press firmly into your hands and distribute the weight on both sides of the body.
Pay attention to the position of your hips and shoulders.
Your head should be in line with your upper arms and your chin tucked in slightly.
Hold this pose for at least 1 minute.
Mountain Pose is known to enhance the body awareness, correct imbalance, and improve alignment, which reduces your risk of injury. Follow these steps:
Stand in such a way that your big toes touch each other.
Lift and fan out your toes and drop them back to create a solid wide base.
Root down your feet and calves down into the floor.
Ensure that your quadriceps are engaged, then draw them upward. Your kneecaps will rise.
Rotate both thighs inward.
Try to maintain the natural curves of your spine.
Draw the belly slightly in, tone your belly.
Widen your collarbones and make sure your shoulders are aligned with your pelvis.
Shrug your shoulders up to your ears and roll them back to release your shoulder blades down your back.
Hang your arms naturally with the elbows slightly bent.
Hold the pose for 5 to 10 breaths while you hold yourself in this position.
The warrior pose is another traditional pose practiced by people with various medical conditions, one of which is weak pelvic muscles. This yoga pose helps in strengthening the arms, legs, core, and lower back as well. You can:
Stand up with your legs 4 to 5 feet apart
Place your right foot at a 90-degree angle and your right toe should point out at an angle of 45 degrees
Place your hands at shoulder level, parallel to the ground
Bend your right knee and look towards your right
Your hips should be square and the right thigh should be parallel to the ground
Hold the pose for 10 to 15 seconds and release the posture