Since the accident, you've done your best to follow your doctor's and chiropractor's instructions. You do the exercises they recommend, you follow their dietary guidelines, and you attend your appointments. However, you wonder if you could do anything else to ease your pain and heal faster, and you've heard that yoga can bring these results.
In short: yes it can.
Here are some of yoga's health benefits as well as some common helpful poses.
Yoga's Health-Boosting Effects
A healthy, fit body heals more quickly than an unhealthy, weak body. Yoga improves your health and fitness in a number of ways. It can also target the injured parts of your body and strengthen them, which means they'll heal more quickly.
Yoga's health benefits include:
- Reduced inflammation: Exercise helps you relax, and yoga uses meditation principles to calm your mind and body. The calmer you feel, the less stress you carry in your body. Stress causes inflammation, or a constriction of the blood vessels. As blood vessels constrict, less oxygen and other nutrients reach the cells, making it difficult to heal. So if you ease inflammation, you'll recover more quickly.
- Reduced blood pressure: Stress also leads to high blood pressure, which puts you at a higher risk for heart disease. Yoga and similar exercises will reduce your stress and subsequently your blood pressure.
- Increased flexibility: Yoga stretches your muscles slowly, carefully, and methodically. These stretches help you ease the stiffness out of injured or overtaxed muscles, and they also improve your flexibility.
- Increased strength: Yoga forces you to engage all your muscles to maintain balance, so it strengthens every part of your body. Many people see the most results in their abs, hamstrings, and quadriceps. Stronger muscles reduce the risk of developing complications from your injury.
- Improved posture: Poor posture weakens your body and reduces proper blood flow. It puts pressure on parts of your body that shouldn't feel pressure at all. Yoga encourages correct posture, which improves your blood flow and overall fitness.
- Reduces cartilage and joint breakdown: Yoga takes your body through a full range of motion, so every joint and muscle experiences use. The more you exercise every part of your body, the less they break down.
- Improved bone health: When your bones bear your weight, your body realizes that it needs to divert more nutrients to build up your bones, so your bones become stronger. Yoga can help you build back your bone health after an accident.
- Increased immunity: As yoga poses move your body around, they assist with lymph drainage. Lymph flows through the lymphatic system, which helps you fight infection and dispose of cellular waste. And the better your body can fight infections, the faster it will heal.
Yoga can help you improve your health even if you haven't experienced an accident or injury. But if you have experienced these unfortunate circumstances, yoga will help you more than ever.
Just remember to ask your chiropractor before buying a yoga DVD or taking a yoga class. Some yoga poses may tear open your injuries if you don't proceed with caution.
Basic Yoga Poses
Depending on your injury and your chiropractor's instructions, you can begin doing careful, asana yoga poses about 72 hours after you receive treatment for your injury. Perform basic poses just once every day, and only hold the poses for a few seconds. Ice the injured area after each session.
Try these basic poses to improve your strength and ease your pain as you recover:
Partial Locust Pose
Lie on your stomach on the floor, keeping your knees straight and resting your forehead and hands on your mat. Flex your lower legs slightly as if you meant to lift them off the floor, but do not lift them. As your body's strength improves, you can start lifting your legs off the floor.
Bow Pose Preparation
In a regular bow pose, you lie on your stomach and reach back to grab both ankles at the same time. Then you pull on your ankles to lift your body off the floor. However, as you recover, you should only do the preparatory steps for this pose.
First, lie on your stomach and put your ankles on a raised step or cushion. Your knees should bend a little. Flex your lower legs, and lift them a little if your injuries allow. If not, just flex for a few weeks as you build strength.
Supported Partial Reclining Big Toe Pose
Lie on your back with your knees straight, and put your injured leg (if you have one) on a block. Press down into the block with your heel to stretch your lower leg.
Supine Hamstring Stretch
Lie on your back, bend your knee to your chest, and put a soft, flexible strap around the ball of your feet. Straighten your leg carefully.
You can do many other poses to target your specific injuries. Again, remember to consult with your chiropractor before you move on to more intense poses. To learn more about exercises that will boost your recover, check out the rest of our blog.