Consider practicing yoga with the mindset that your body is under a constant state of re-construction. Any endeavor worthwhile takes time. Take the rush out of your mind while you’re on the mat. Your body will appreciate the way you think.
Muscles. We like them strong, tight, shaped just so and flexible. And, we want it to happen pretty quickly. Technology is atrophying the mind’s ability to be patient. Advanced technology is a time thief. Ganga White says it best: “Yoga doesn’t take time, it gives time.” Focusing on the sensations of muscle engagement, lengthening, balance, breathing, bone alignment, and energetic shifts are a few of the mental guideposts during the practice.
Motion is lotion for the body. Muscles, after warmed up, can extend one and a half the original length. The muscle’s fibers get micro tears; however, the healing process closes the gap and the message to get thicker, longer, and stronger is processed at the cellular level. Go too far, too fast and muscles, or worse, ligaments or tendons get pulled beyond their edge. Result: pain, inflammation, decreased mobility, and return to ground zero for healing.
Tendons connect muscle to bone. Ligaments connect tendon to muscle. It’s a blend of densities individually wrapped in fascia. Fascia is connective tissue that sheaths everything. Movement creates heat for malleability of muscle to increase. But, everything has limits. Stretching ligaments is precarious. Once overstretched, they do not resume original length. The going range of permitted stretch is 4-7%. So, if you’re feeling your pose pull something at a joint, back off a bit.
Feeling a ‘burn’ in the muscle is not a good thing contrary to the “no pain, no gain” philosophy. The ‘burn’ is the body telling you it is being overworked and on the brink of damage. And, guess what, contrary to what you hear, it is not lactic acid taking residence in your muscles. Lactic acid is produced in the muscle cells and red blood cells as carbs are broken down for energy when oxygen levels are low. When the body’s muscles get anaerobic (out of O2), the Ph level gets acidic. As a ‘homeland security’ measure, multiple systems in the body slow down. Lactic acid is absorbed by the lymphatic system. Inflammation of overworked areas is the body’s way to slow you down. Inflammation causes pain in degrees of swelling. The more inflamed, the worse the pain. Pay attention.
By holding a pose for a few breaths, the muscle has time to get longer. Smooth, deep breathing provides the oxygen the muscles need. Plus, soreness is reduced by keeping the muscles’ chemistry scales balanced.
Muscles get strong fiber by fiber…layer by layer. It is a magnificent blend of body chemistry at play with physical components. How you move, what you fuel yourself with, and how you breathe are critical in constructing your yogi body.
Time is on your side when you stay present. And, maybe all you really needed was time for yourself. Yoga gives you that and a whole lot more.
Connect on FB to get more yoga nuggets!