500 hour yoga certificationBy Kimaya Singh

Why do so many runners practice yoga?  There are many reasons, but let’s talk about prevention of shin splints or dealing with a pre-existing condition. If someone runs on a regular basis, it is more than likely that they will encounter shin splints at some point in time. These occur with repeated trauma to connective tissues, and running is a sport with repeated high-impact contact. When a runner pushes too far and too hard, or someone begins running for long distances without any build up, this puts an overload of stress on the muscles of the calf. Without attention, these injuries can cause more serious problems, such as stress fractures and complete breaking of the bones.

There is no simple cure for shin splints, unfortunately. Like many other trauma-related injuries, the key component of healing is to avoid using those muscles as much as possible. For runners who develop these, this may mean taking a long break from running until the pain is completely gone. Otherwise, more damage can occur. Pain medication and muscle relaxers may be prescribed, though they are not ideal. Many people who deal with this condition try yoga and meditation before taking the drug therapy route, as yoga can help ease the pain associated with shin splints and strengthen the muscles of the calf to prevent future occurrences.

The most important thing to remember when performing yoga for the benefit of shin splints is that practicing it wrong can have detrimental effects. Weight-bearing poses can potentially lead to strengthening the muscles, but choosing these poses before the muscles have healed enough can have the opposite result of what is desired. Leg stretching and leg strengthening poses are ideal. Seated or laying positions are better for the beginning of the therapy, while standing poses can be practiced after the injury has healed somewhat. It is important to allow the body to heal before putting any extra stress or tension on it.

Muscles are strengthened and made healthier through the improvement in circulation and oxygen transport that yoga causes. There is an increase in flexibility and elasticity of the muscles, which not only relieves the pain that shin splints cause, but also prevents shin splints from occurring in the future. Regular practice of yoga when running is resumed can continue to maintain this improved flexibility, which will promote muscle health while running. Yoga and meditation bring relaxation to muscles that are tense, and running can be a good cardiac exercise to combine with these alternative exercises to promote the health of the body and mind.

© Copyright 2015 – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division

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