Day 10: Are you sore yet?
When we engage in any physical activity, it is common to feel sore, tight and maybe even
tender. Yoga included. Sometimes we are led to believe that ‘all we need is yoga to open the
body and feel a good stretch’. I agree. However, we need to understand and accept that
feeling sore from practicing yoga is completely normal too. Especially if we are new to yoga or
have taken a long break from our regular practice.
One of the intention’s of yoga is to find balance from left to right, or from right to left, depending on where you are dominant, and trust me, you will always be more dominant on one side.
Why? Simply life’s patterns, habits; good or bad, your job, your stress level and many other aspects of your life contribute to this. It takes time, hard work and a lot of patience to find more balance throughout the body. When we allow and want yoga to become part of our lifestyle, we practice daily, or at least as often as we can, it becomes a priority and we make room for it in our day. Once we fully adopt this pattern, extreme soreness can develop in not only a beginners body, but also in a ‘yogi’s’ body.
As a participant of early morning Mysore, I wanted to share with you all the extreme soreness I have felt in my body at day 6. My left hamstring is screaming at me, and this appears to be an issue that has been buried deep for some time. As we develop and regulate our practice, balance begins to grow, symmetry starts to exist in the best way that it can, which can mean discomfort and tension at first. These sensations can simply represent an opening, a shift in the body, or an indication of a weakness in certain muscles. These sensations also create awareness. Is my left hamstring now attempting to be as long as my right and catch up after all these years of misuse as I commit more than ever to my practice? Or perhaps I am relying on my left hamstring too much and need to start engaging into other muscles such as the glutes and the quadriceps, to take the stress off of the overused muscles? How do we deal with this? We stay committed to our practice but most importantly, we listen to our body. If it tell’s us we've gone too far in a forward fold, we don’t pull with our hands. Instead we must let uddiyana bandha and our ujjayi breath move us there, and they will, with patience, time and dedication. So my point is, when we are sore, listen, but don't give up.
What else can we do to relieve the soreness, the aching and the discomfort?
Drink plenty of water, at least 2 litres a day when are are exercising. We are made up of approximately 60% water. Water is the body’s transportation system. It helps to move essential nutrients around the body, and it helps to regulate our temperature.
Water feeds our muscles, therefore when muscles are not hydrated, they don’t perform as well
and we become fatigued.
One last remedy for helping soreness that I especially love is massage. As a massage therapist, I see the effects that this therapy has on all of my clients, it is a necessity for your health, not only beneficial for fixing, but more importantly preventing injury.
If you too are feeling sore as a result of your yoga practice, not only use your awareness
and intuition to guide you, but also treat yourself to some other form of self care.
“Take care of your body, it’s the only place you have to live…” Jim Rohn.