Most of us have experienced pain either in the lower back or because of something severe like arthritis.
The preferred solution is usually a quick pain-killer medicine, but what if we tell you there is another, zero medication, way to douse the pain. Yoga, a product of India, holds the secret to killing some kinds of pain, or some degrees of pain, without medicines. This makes yoga quite important for the aged, when there are chances that medicine over-use can cause more damage than good. So get on your yoga mat as we take you through all the yoga benefits to help you ease pain.
How is yoga related to meditation?
‘Meditation is one limb of the yoga philosophy. While power yoga has taken over the world with its promises of quick weight loss and toned abs, let’s not forget that yoga came into being to help yogis concentrate on meditation. They couldn’t really think about what to cook for dinner while standing on one foot for hours now could they? Yoga also stretched out their limbs to make it easier for them to sit in a meditative posture for hours.’
If you can take out 15 minutes in the morning to sit and meditate, to contemplate on your day gone by or the day ahead or just to get your thoughts in order, that could be a good way to get that vital time to yourself. If you can’t take out those 15 minutes or more, then a good way to incorporate a little meditation into your life is to try it at your yoga class.
The next time you go to your yoga class, try making a conscious effort to spend time with your self. If you can’t block out thoughts let them come, but try and focus your thoughts. Once you do this, you may find that many priorities will sort themselves out as you may find yourself thinking about a couple of things constantly that are of utmost importance. You may also find that you are less crabby because you are getting that vital space for your thoughts.
How important correct breathing is for yoga?
Yoga teaches you techniques of how to breathe in a way that promotes lung capacity, clears blockages and even clenches and unclenches stomach muscles. This, once again, promotes movement and flexibility of core muscles and all round core strength.
How to beat stress with yoga
Stress causes headaches, breathing problems, acidity and pain. Don’t worry, yoga will take care of stress, here are some exercises:
Corpse pose or Shavasan: Lie flat on the back with legs together and (palms facing up) arms close to the body. Relax your body and mind with this pose.
Half-moon pose or Ardhachandra-asana: This pose benefits the lower back, abdomen and chest by stretching and balancing the body. Start with your feet together and arms by the side. Bring both the hands at the chest with palms lightly pressed against each other. Breathe-in while raising the arms straight up keeping palms pressed lightly together. Arch your body backwards while keeping the arms alongside your neck and head.
Downward-facing dog pose or Adho mukha svanasana: The Adho Mukha Svanasana helps to cure backaches, relieve stress and mild depression and revitalizes energy.
Forward bend pose or Padahastasana: Stand straight with arms by your side, exhale and bend touching the floor with your hand. This pose helps in stretching the hamstring of the legs and helps spine and internal organs.
Straight angle pose or Samakonasana: Start the asana with sitting on the ground and stretch the legs forward. Keep you legs straight and be rested on the ground. Now, slowly stretch your legs sideways so that it should form a straight line and keep the body straight. Stay in this posture for a few seconds and then slowly bring back the legs to the normal position.
How yoga helps your core
Yoga postures – Take almost any yoga posture like the sarvangasana (shoulder stand), virbhadrasana (warrior pose), or the dhanurasana (bow pose). How well you are able to emulate these poses almost always depends on how strong your core is. Being flexible but having a weak core will allow you to do some basic postures like Uttanasana (bending forward and touching your toes), but will not allow you to make much headway in the slightly more advanced postures.
Basic stretches like the cow and cat post (getting down on all fours and stretching your back in and out) and the mountain pose where all you have to do is stand on your toes, extend your arms upwards and stretch your whole body out, are very essential in increasing flexibility to your core. Doing this will make you far less susceptible to injuries and will allow you to push your body more during weight training and/ or running.
How yoga helps chronic back pain
In a US study, researchers have linked improvement in chronic back pain and yoga. It took 200 adults with lower back pain three months to ease their pain. It was a far better option than medication. Researchers believe that stretching in yoga improves the condition of the lower back, giving you relief.
How yoga helps Fibromyalgia
Patients of Fibromyalgia suffer a lot in pain, medication is temporary relief and exercises can be painful. This is when yoga comes in handy. According to a researcher and psychologist at the Oregon Health and Science University in Portland ‘A weekly two-hour yoga class reduced fibromyalgia symptoms such as pain, fatigue, and stiffness by 30 percent in more than half of the people who took it.’
That’s all you need, two hours a week and the pain will subside. In the study, the participants ‘spent 40 minutes working through a series of familiar yoga poses (warrior 1, child’s pose) and another 80 minutes on meditation, breathing exercises, and group discussions about coping with pain.’
How yoga helps arthritis
In another study conducted in UAE it was revealed that Raj yoga can reduce the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. The participants that completed 12 sessions of Raj yoga, that included yoga exercises and breathing techniques showed great improvement. Researchers believe this could well be the answer for easing out rheumatoid arthritis in the long run. Another bonus point includes that Raj yoga reduces the level of anxiety present in patients with rheumatoid arthritis.
How yoga helps osteoporosis
Osteoporosis is a painful and expensive health problem. In a 2011 study, participants were taught 13 different poses for osteoporosis – the triangle pose, the upward and downward dog poses, the bridge, rainbow, 1-legged and 2-legged forward bends, the boat, etc. Researcher Loren M. Fishman from Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons concluded that ‘Yoga appears to be an effective way to build bone mineral density after menopause.’
How you can start your own yoga experience
If you are a beginner, then it is advisable to get a yoga instructor and follow his or her instructions. This will help you avoid yoga injuries and improve your health. Pick a suitable time and a corner that will not distract you with life’s mundane issues.
As with any other exercise, dedicate enough time and effort to the pursuit of yoga practise and you’ll see progress.