The Benefits of Massage For Yogis
Many yoga teachers refer to asana, the physical practice of yoga, as a form of self-massage stimulating the inner organs, digestive system and the body’s overall detox pathways, but did you know that receiving a massage from a skilled therapist pre or post yoga can drastically increase the physical, mental and spiritual effects of your practice?
It is no secret that many yogis come to the mat as a way of releasing built up stress and tension that accumulates throughout the day, however it is this same drive to succeed in business and at life that will often cause a yogi to physically push and exert themselves in their practice. With this exertion the ability to relax, unwind and calm the mind can often be lost and it is at this point that many practitioners will recommend massage as a complementary form of release.
The physical, emotional and spiritual benefits of massage are long and powerful, especially when paired with a mindful yoga practice, but we have compiled a list of the top 3 benefits you can expect from this yoga & massage combination.
Benefits of Massage Before or After Yoga
1. Improved Flexibility
While yoga is well-known to improve the flexibility of the body by gradually increasing the length and stretch of your muscles, it can often also cause slight muscle soreness and fatigue. Massage however does well to increase the natural lubricants in and around the connective tissue of these muscles, reducing muscle aches and pains, improving recovery time and overall mobility of the body. With a greater range of motion and more limber joints not only will everyday activities such as walking, lifting and squatting become easier, but your posture and even your breathing will also improve, on and off the mat.
2. Improved Circulation
Both yoga and massage are powerful tools in stimulating the flow of fresh, healthy blood through your body and stimulate the production of new oxygen-rich blood cells that deeply nourish your organs, joints and extremities. When we are turning over oxygen-rich blood and allowing that to flow around our body we are better able to regulate our body temperature, heal injury and even lower blood pressure and relieve physiological stress in the body.
3. Stress Relief
Unfortunately stress is a part of everyday life and science has proven the effects of mental stress on the body and its ability to cause muscle soreness, fatigue and lethargy. For many people yoga has become a daily source of stress relief, offering the mind and body a time to be completely present and mindful. However as we discussed earlier this is not always the case, especially if we are practicing more active forms of yoga such as vinyasa or hot yoga. While these practices are greatly beneficial and have many health benefits themselves such as muscle toning and cardiovascular conditioning, they can also build physical stress in the body and sometimes even mental frustration if we cannot achieve, or hold a pose like the way we think we should. Massage however offers a complete surrender of the physical body and facilitates a deep state of relaxation and self care; that is too often ignored in today’s society.
The question that often follows this information is; which comes first? And the answer albeit depends on which experience or benefit you value most. For example, having a massage before yoga helps provide the warmth and stretch to your muscles that you may need in order to hold a pose for longer, with better form. You may also find that a pre-yoga massage does well to remove any distraction or stress from the day and allows you to practice in a more mindful state with a more acute body awareness.
On the other hand, massage after yoga creates a powerfully relaxing experience that has been known to lull yogis into a deep meditative state, and often into sleep. It is for this reason that we recommend this combination during the later part of the day or at a time when you may have more leisure time to relish in this tranquil state.
So while you may have seen great benefit come from your physical practice thus far, we encourage you to indulge in a much-needed massage with one of our highly-skilled practitioners and experiencer the benefits of this powerful combination for yourself.
Yoga Teacher | Human Potential Coach
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