Photo credit: Samuel Costin, Bingin Beach, Bali
“The way that joints maintain health is through movement. Make sure you move all of your joints to their fullest capacity, frequently.” Dr Andreo Spina
When clients first come to see me, I’m still sometimes shocked to see how locked up they are, especially in the hips, upper back and shoulders. They look so fit and athletic on the surface, but underneath they’re dealing with unbearably tight joints and recurring pains that often they’ve come to accept as inevitable.
If this is you, you don’t have to accept this as your fate. But you do need to start doing something about it before it's too late. And this is where recovery techniques such as yoga, stretching, foam rolling, massage and manual therapy come in.
I’ve designed this easy 15-minute video, to help you start loosening up tight joints and shift some of those niggling aches and pains that aren’t getting any better on their own.
How do you get tight in the first place?
If you suffer from tightness, inflexibility or chronic pain in any part of your body, your daily activities are not taking you through sufficient range of motion to keep your muscles and joints healthy and in proper alignment. Most likely, you sit too much. Add to that the physical demands of your sport and an inadequate or non-existent recovery program and you have the perfect storm for poor posture, dysfunction and pain.
What makes yoga so effective at improving joint mobility?
Yoga works on a number of different levels, affecting both your physiology and your central nervous system.
- Slow and controlled movement through full range of motion loosens up tight joints.
- Static stretching – holding poses for 30 seconds or more – releases muscular tension and helps to correct postural imbalances.
- Yoga follows a sequence of forward bends, backbends, sidebends and twists to flex, compress and extend your body through all planes of motion.
- Deep, diaphragmatic breathing calms the nervous system, allowing your body to let go of tension.
- Practicing yoga increases body awareness without which it’s impossible to bring about significant physical improvements.
Tips to get the most out of this sequence
- Try to relax. This is a recovery session not a workout. You have to be relaxed for the routine to be effective.
- Consciously slow down your breathing. As you inhale, fill your ribcage front, back and sides. And make your exhalations as long and as slow as you can.
- Try not to drift off into thoughts. Stay present, focussing on your breath and the sensations in your body throughout the sequence.
- You can do this restorative sequence any time of day but in the evening before bed is best. Repeat it as many times a week as is necessary and appropriate for you.
This video comes from the Yoga 15 Relaxation series – 15 x 15-minute beginner videos designed to increase flexibility, loosen up tight joints and promote athletic recovery. Here is the link to download the full series: