Suffer from chronic pain? Don’t walk it off, stretch it out.
Story by Karrie Comfort Contributor, Photos by William Odis Martin
My back hurts. My butt hurts. I think the only part of my body that doesn’t hurt right now are my eyebrows... so yeah, all of me hurts. I’m used to chronic soreness after playing soccer for four years, basketball for two years, and now dancing and weightlifting. However, all the tension was getting to me, and I recently had my first massage because I was so tense. Turns out, this is a problem among a lot of athletes, which manifests itself later in poor health.
I’ve started doing yoga occasionally at the Student Recreation and Wellness Center, which has been an experience. First off, this stuff is popular. You can’t just show up at the start time, you have to show up earlier because there is never enough room. Besides, no one wants someone downward dogging in their face. It’s just weird.
You might already know there are quite a few different kinds of yoga and the Recreation Center offers several. Power yoga is exactly what it sounds like. It involves building various muscle groups to give you a stronger body and sculpt yoga is similar. The yoga positions are held longer than they would be held in a gentle or flow yoga. I tend to do gentle yoga to de-stress and just stretch out all those tense muscles.
“I look forward to it every week,” student Elizabeth Rhamani said about her yoga class. “It’s relaxing and relieves a lot of stress that I have pent up from all my other classes. Plus, I can feel myself getting stronger and more flexible.”
Yoga is amazing in that it serves multiple purposes like increasing flexibility, which is good for more than just being able to do the splits. Flexibility keeps your bones and muscles on high alert, and as an athelete your chances of injury plummet.
A lot of poses build core strength, which is at the center of your body and controls a lot of your movement.
“Yoga makes me feel strong, powerful, and balanced, without having to use complicated weight lifting machines,” Rachel Grefe said. “I always feel really refreshed and at peace after I finish.”
People that do yoga also tend to have better posture, simply because you are so much more aware of your breathing and movement. A strong core makes you want to sit up, and who doesn’t want to be taller?
My personal favorite reason to do yoga is for my heart. Yoga is shown to help high-blood pressure, which runs in my family, so even the little things help.
And yoga helps my mind and body calm down itself after a long day. Tension and pain shouldn’t be a normal part of life. Instead of walking it off, maybe you should try stretching it out.