Stretching is an integral part of yoga, and it’s hugely beneficial to your body and muscles. Stretching improves flexibility, it increases muscle mass and strength, and it can improve a muscle’s resilience. That said, stretching must be performed properly in order to attain all of the benefits it has to offer. That’s why we’re going to take some time today to talk about stretching, and the proper technique to ensure that you’re getting the most out of your yoga routine.
Take It Easy
While some folks instinctively stretch their muscles to the limit, you should avoid the urge to do so. Overstretching can actually damage the muscles, ligaments, and tendons. A stretch should not be painful. If you’re inflexible, don’t push your limits. Stretch to a position that is comfortable. Hold that position. Breathe. If you’re just beginning yoga, you may be tempted to overstretch to improve your flexibility; however, the best method to improve flexibility is through slow, subtle improvements over time. Again, overstretching can cause an injury, so take it easy and stretch comfortably.
Stretch the Muscle
The goal of stretching is to stretch a muscle or a muscle group. It is not to stretch ligaments or tendons that attach to bones around the body. Ligaments and tendons that attach to joints and bones around the body are relatively delicate and difficult to repair. In fact, if you experience a ligament or tendon injury, the damage may be permanent. Therefore, you should be extremely cautious while stretching. Don’t overstretch, and when you do stretch, focus on stretching your muscles. There should be little to no strain on your joints.
Breathing is a crucial component of proper stretching. When you breathe deeply, you aid the muscle in relaxing. Pull in deep, steady breaths with each stretch. Your lungs oxygenates your blood, which flows to your muscles. Deep breathing stimulates muscle growth, and it can improve your flexibility. You should be able to breathe comfortably while stretching. Strive to exhale as you pull yourself into a stretch, and then breathe deeply as you reach the height of your stretch.
Water is crucial for your flexibility and muscle health. Be sure that you’re properly hydrated before you stretch, and drink plenty of water after you’ve performed a routine. Again, water feeds muscle cells, and it improves their longevity and resilience. Plus, hydrated muscle cells multiply more quickly. That means you can perform deeper stretches and see more results.
Pair proper water consumption with the right diet to ensure that you make the most out of your stretching and yoga. Consume a balanced nutritious diet. Fruits and veggies provide crucial nutrients to your muscles. Also, opt for ghee (a clarified butter from India), ginger, turmeric, and sesame seeds. These foods have therapeutic qualities, and they can further fortify your nutrition.
Thanks for checking in with Collierville Yoga! Stretch safe. Yoga often. Take a look at our upcoming yoga classes. We’re ecstatic to work with beginners and experts alike! We’ll see you soon!