Millions of people participate in yoga to support both their physical and mental health, but did you know that yoga can also play a key role in injury recovery? Yoga has proven to be an important tool for those looking to bounce back after an injury.
Yoga lengthens muscle tissue, strengthens muscle through applying healthy stress, and enhances range of motion, all of which contribute to recovery from overuse muscle injuries as and correcting postural imbalances associated with musculoskeletal disorders and injuries. In addition, it helps improve balance, which is often associated with injuries. Yoga also enhances an athlete’s proprioception, which is the awareness of how the body moves through space. Finally, yoga reduces cortisol levels, a stress hormone that can inhibit recovery.
Of course, it’s critical to discuss recovery methods with your doctor or physical therapist before starting a program, but here are a few tips:
Avoid overstretching – focus on slowly expanding muscle flexibility over time, as your body needs time to heal. The severity of your injury will determine your training needs.
Allow time to heal – Scar tissue can limit your range of motion and cause pain. Begin with gentle yoga and if you experience any pain, get out of the yoga posture and rest.
Be selective — Avoid exercises that increase pressure on injured areas. For example, balancing exercises that increase the load on injured areas.
Take your time — While yoga can be a great form of rehabilitation, it’s not a quick remedy, so listen to your body and give it time to recover. Remember, your exercise routine should reflect the stage of your recovery. Over-exercising too early on may set you back several weeks.
Implementing yoga gradually into your rehabilitation routine can help improve overall strength, flexibility, and posture and may even help prevent further injuries. Always practice yoga with a qualified teacher and make them aware of your injuries, so they can offer appropriate modifications and be sure to consult with your doctor or physical therapist before exercising after an injury to ensure you are following the necessary steps to support your recovery.
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