Agnieszka Olechowska, Yoga Teacher at YOU Massage Therapy, Southampton, describes how Yoga is not just for flexibility and relaxation
Some people associate yoga exercises with muscle flexibility rather than strength. Students coming to my classes often ask how long it’s going to take for them to perform splits or back bends. Flexibility is, to some people, the main goal with their Asana practice. However, although muscle stretching to aid and improve flexibility plays an important role in a typical yoga class, we shouldn’t forget about simultaneously developing our strength.
Strong muscles play an important part in supporting the joints and protecting them from damage. The weaker our muscles are, the less stable our joints become. Prolonged imbalance can lead to chronic pain and this in turn makes us involuntarily take it easy on the muscles by unconsciously avoiding movements that cause discomfort or pain. The muscles can then become progressively weaker and a vicious circle arises.
Some people may associate strength with gym bodies with their chiseled abs and generally well-developed musculature. This is another popular misconception: Simply having carved muscles doesn’t necessarily make us strong and functional humans. Yoga practice itself won’t turn our abs into a dreamed-of six-pack, but it offers much more than just boosting appearance. Practiced regularly, it helps to develop core muscle stability which positively impacts our physical health.
What is the core and why is core strength and stability so important?
Thai massage is also known as ‘Lazy Yoga’. The name became apparent because the massage consists of pressure points and stretches that aim to relieve blockages along the 10 energy channels within the body. Obstruction of energy flow can lead to weakness of muscles, fatigue, and many other musculoskeletal disorders. Yoga also works with increasing the energy flow and removing blockages. Slow stretching and breathing work in coordination to relax the body and mind, helping you feel revitalised, relaxed, and rejuvenated.
Importance of stretching
Stretching keeps the muscles flexible, strong and healthy which helps to maintain a healthy range of motion within the joints. Otherwise, muscles become shortened and tight. If you then exert yourself with tight muscles you are at a higher risk or joint pain, injury, and muscle damage. Ideally, we should all be stretching every day – especially if we have an inactive lifestyle. Now with less times on our hands this can seem challenging. Thai massage is a great way to unwind, but also a way to tick off the list one of those yoga classes you’ve been wanting to attend.
Along with the physical benefits ‘Lazy Yoga’ helps restore wellbeing and relaxation. We underestimate the importance of Continue reading →
When it comes to a good life, it is all about Balance
The importance of finding balance in our lives has never been more significant than in today’s frantic world. Pressures from work, family and social commitments can sometimes leave us off kilter, depleted of energy. Often suppressing our own needs for the sake of others, we may inwardly desire simply an hour to ourselves but somehow it feels wrong to admit this, for fear of acting selfishly. Left unchecked, this unbalanced approach can permeate every part of our lives … and, at one point or another, the result is usually burn out, exhaustion and a quiet seething and often unconscious resentment towards those we help.
Making wise energy choices
It is well documented that our energy levels are highly influenced by our diet, lifestyle and even the people we spend time with. However, for many of us we are simply not consciously aware of this energy within our system. Consequently, a specific diet or lifestyle change can feel forced upon us, as if to please others, rather than a choice from within.
A simple, regular yoga practice can develop our capacity to notice the fluctuations in our own energy levels so that, over time, we can start to recognise those parts of our lives that deplete us, and those that raise us up. This conscious awareness of the energy within our own systems, gives us the best possible chance to make our own personal choices; where possible to resist energy-depleting situations and to open to rejuvenating, and life-balancing practices.