3 Ways Yoga Improves Your Joint System and Skeletal Structure
Regular practice of yoga is commonly known to give you a mental serenity and level of fitness unlike any other form of exercise. Many practitioners do not even realize that there are even more benefits being explored underneath your muscles. Yoga is proving more and more to have a significant effect on healthy joint function as certain poses promote the release of fluids while strengthening the muscles supporting vital joint systems. Here are three ways yoga can help get the juices flowing in those joints and keep you walking smoothly into your elder years.
- Promotes Flow of Synovial Fluid
Synovial fluid is the slippery liquid in joint systems that along with hyaline cartilage, allows smooth, painless movement of the bones. Synovial fluid is found in joints like the knees, hips, and elbows where more free movement of the bones is allowed. The few joints that do not have synovial fluid are the discs between your vertebrae in your back and both sacroiliac joints in the back of your pelvis. Consequently, movement of these joints is more limited than the others. Synovial fluid is also essential for delivering nutrients and oxygen to the hyaline cartilage which don’t have any sort of blood supply. The various poses in yoga allow this fluid to flow to different part of your body and with regular practice can increase the smooth flow of synovial fluid to your joints and make you move around more smoothly.
- Strengthens Joint Supporting Muscles
The isometric poses of yoga train the smaller muscles surrounding our joints to endure more pressure and make us work them harder in order to stabilize ourselves. Poses that force us to balance on one leg and change elevation or rotate train our supporting muscles to work in ways strictly for stability and balance, thereby improving their function as you go about daily activities.
- Weight Loss
Every pound of excess weight you carry on your body puts an unnecessary burden on your joints. The weight your joints are supporting grows exponentially when doing vigorous exercise such as running or jumping. Running upstairs can put as much as five times the amount of excess weight you’re carrying in pressure on your joints. Our joints are built to support us as we carry extra loads now and then but excess fat; to the point of obesity has been proven to cause earlier and more serious joint problems in individuals throughout their lives. Yoga along with a healthy diet can help you shed excess weight that is putting more pressure on your joints and inhibiting your movements.
No other form of exercise can isolate and concentrate on the muscles surrounding joints like yoga can while promoting healthy flow of blood and synovial fluid throughout the body. Even if joint problems are already getting the better of you there are still many poses that can be done on the floor that allow you to increase fluidity and loosen up the joints. Talk to your instructor before attempting certain poses that might put more stress on fragile or injured joints. Remember it is not a competition; do what is comfortable and beneficial for you.
Feel Healthier and Younger! 5 Detoxifying Habits to Begin
- Dry Brush Your Beautiful Skin
Europeans have used [skin brushing](/video/ayurveda-action-plan-skin-brushing} as an effective method of detoxification for centuries. It’s a simple detox technique which removes toxins accumulated in dead skin cells while simultaneously enhancing circulation. If you brush your skin every day for three minutes, you will be giving it a cleanse that is better than a traditional soap cleaning or bath. In fact, there’s simply no soap that can wash the skin as clean as the new skin which lies beneath the old.
Dry skin brushing your whole body every morning before you shower will do your skin so much good – even if you can’t see it. Just trust in the process because it works! Make sure you use an all-natural dry skin brush, and brush from the feet and hands in the direction of the center of your body. Be sure to brush the bottoms of the feet because nerve endings in your feet affect the whole body. Use lighter strokes over breasts and avoid your nipples if you can. Wash your brush every few weeks in water and let it dry. Get blissed out in the sensation of newly invigorated skin!
- Sweat It Out!
Perspiration is so very, very good for you. It’s an absolutely essential ingredient for healthy skin. Sweating detoxifies and cleanses the skin. If you only sweat for twenty minutes every day, you’ll be doing your skin a world of good. The body detoxifies through the skin, the body’s largest organ of elimination, by sweating. In many traditional cultures around the world, sweating is the first thing people do when they feel a cold or flu coming on. How many times a week do you sweat? For some of us, depending upon our constitution, it’s much easier to sweat than others. But for all of us – no matter what dosha dominates – there are ways to sweat every single day.
For starters, there’s cardiovascular exercise and vinyasa or Bikram yoga classes. Then there are steam rooms and infrared saunas. You can also have some fun in the bedroom by revving up your sexual activity with your partner to get the body sweating and releasing toxins. Whatever you choose to do, try to sweat regularly to maintain optimal health and remove those unwanted toxins.
- Drink Chaga Tea
Chaga, the king of super foods, is a natural detoxifying agent. You can take it in a number of forms, such as powders, capsules, or tinctures. But sipping it in tea form is a great way to relax and drink it as a daily tonic, the way it’s been done for thousands of years by traditional cultures around the world. Chaga is naturally detoxifying because it is a super food that directly impacts the immune system – in a good, good way.
When we feed our bodies with this immune super food, it detoxifies itself naturally because fifty percent of the detox process is simply the immune system working to eliminate toxins. Chaga is also one of the highest antioxidant foods in the world, second only to cacao. Antioxidants detoxify the body, too, by preventing our liver from being overtaxed with oxidative stress.
- Go To Bed and Wake Up at the Same Time Every Day
Research has shown us over and over again that serious sleep deprivation has the same negative effects on the body as do illness and stress. Our body naturally goes to work for us when we sleep, and getting enough sleep is crucial to the body’s natural mechanisms of detoxification. For the brain in particular to detoxify, adequate sleep is absolutely essential.
There’s something referred to as the glymphatic system, which is simply defined as the brain’s system of removing toxins that can lead to such diseases such as Alzheimer’s and other brain maladies. It’s like the lymphatic system for your brain. When we get a good eight hours of sleep on average, the brain “takes out the trash.” Sleep is absolutely essential for removing toxic waste products.
- Twist It Out With Yoga
Yoga postures that twist and turn the body have a natural detoxifying effect. They get things movin’ and groovin’ inside, enhancing the digestive system, while giving the organs a nice, internal massage. When we get into twisting poses, our organs are compressed. This action actually moves blood that inevitably gets filled with toxins out of our system. Twists also flood the liver and kidneys with oxygen while getting blood flowing to those organs of elimination. Try to detox daily by sitting in seated spinal twist and breathing for six to ten breaths.
Other excellent yoga poses for detoxification include: chair twists, wide-legged forward fold with twist, cat/cow (not a twisting pose but still great for digestion), supine twists, twisted side angle pose, downward dog with a twist, crescent lunge twist, and marichiyasana.
In addition, all inversions are also excellent for detoxifying as they soothe the nervous system while stimulating circulation and lymph in the legs and feet, bringing oxygenated blood to the abdomen and brain. While you do your yoga postures, try breathing through the nose. This, too, has a detoxifying effect because many environmental pollutants get stopped in the mucous membranes of the nasal passages when we breathe through the nose. They then travel to the digestive system where they are broken down and eliminated from the body.
Good luck with your whole body demo habits! Your body will love you for bringing these new habits into your life.