There is nothing worse than having sore muscles after an intense workout. Or after a day you spent running around and doing chores around the house. When this happens, you may be wondering if there is more you can do for your body. Are there some yoga poses that are effective for aiding their recovery?
The best yoga poses when your muscles are sore are ones that ease tightness and stretch your muscles. They are not the most intense poses but they focus on getting you just enough movement to relieve any discomfort or pain. By performing yoga pose when your muscles are sore you speed up recovery.
Continue reading this article to learn more about when yoga can help ease your muscle soreness. It will also detail how yoga works on sore muscles and how it eases discomfort or pain. It also includes the best yoga poses to do when you have muscles soreness.
The Physical Benefits of Yoga
Yoga is an amazing practice that has many physical, mental, and spiritual benefits. Some come with consistency, but others can be almost instantaneous. For the physical benefits specifically, yoga can aid you in preventive and reactive ways to keep your body in great shape.
Here are all of the amazing physical benefits that yoga can provide you with:
Many poses in yoga target multiple muscles. So you are required to hold your own weight up as you remain steady and in proper alignment. As you hold these poses, you strengthen your muscle groups such as your arms, core, legs, and glutes.
Tones your Muscles
On top of building strength in your muscles, you also will be toning them, as you are going to be burning calories simultaneously.
Another great benefit is that yoga helps to improve your flexibility. As you sink deeper and deeper into poses, you will become more flexible as both your muscles and nerves adjust. This can also help reduce your chances of injury as you are better adapted to moving into odd positions
Stretches your Muscles
An immediate relief that yoga provides is a deep stretch in every muscle of your body. Each pose stretches different muscles, and as they lengthen, you will feel a lot of tightness and tension release.
Yoga improves flexibility, posture and strength, preventing injuries from occurring. You will be in much better shape if you practice consistently. Additionally, the stretching can help keep any muscles from getting too tight so that you can avoid any strains.
Yoga can help you recover as the deep stretches can help get your body moving and get you back on your feet.
Yoga comes with many other benefits. As you can see, plenty of them benefits your physical body. Some come with time, such as more strength and improved flexibility. Others can bring you relief immediately, such as the deep stretch you feel in many of the poses.
Should You Do Yoga With Sore Muscles?
You have probably heard people say that when you are sore from yoga, or just sore in general, yoga is the best thing you can do. While there is some truth to this, it really comes down to your individual situation and how sore your muscles are.
The important thing to remember is to be kind to your body and be mindful of how it feels. Listen to your body and considering how much discomfort or pain you are in. Consider giving your body the time to rest and heal if needed, preventing any further soreness or injury from occurring.
Listen to your Body
However, sometimes, yoga can actually help with any aches and aid in your recovery. If you have tight muscles, tension, or are just aching from a previous class or workout, you should consider doing yoga. It is important to remember, though, that you may not be able to push yourself as far as normal on the days you have sore muscles. You may need to ease up or skip some stretches based on what your body is telling you.
The key is to take care of yourself. If your body is not in the position to keep going, then taking a rest day without any physical activity is okay from time to time. If you could use some stretching or know your body is up for some movement, yoga is a great way to still get in some exercise on a day you need to take it easy.
How Does Yoga Reduce Muscle Soreness?
One of the great things about practising yoga is that you can do it in many different ways and at many different intensity levels. Yoga does a great job at getting you to stretch certain muscles, helping you ease any tightness that is muscle soreness.
Choose the right poses and avoid any that may irritate your muscles even more. Focus on poses that are restorative and gentle and use yoga props like blankets, blocks and straps. They will provide extra support and help you feel more relaxed in the poses.
The Best Yoga Pose to Reduce Muscle Soreness
Below are some great yoga poses that you can do to help target different areas of the body that may be experiencing muscles soreness. You can create your own yoga sequence from them or just do a few yoga poses to help with your sore muscles.
Remember to keep the movements slow, only go as far as you can handle in stretches, and avoid any poses that may be too painful.
Child’s Pose (Balasana)
This pose provides a nice stretch to your back and can feel amazing after putting a lot of pressure on your upper body. It's straightforward to do and can be great to use on its own or to throw in between poses.
- Begin sitting on top of your knees with them spread hip-width apart. Forming a V, bring your feet back, so they are touching behind you.
- As you exhale, fold your torso all the way down to the mat and reach your arms to be stretched out in front of you.
- Rest your forehead on the ground, and close your eyes. Keep both your neck and spine long. Hold for 1-5 minutes.
There are quite a few variations to this pose, and it is entirely up to you how you choose to do it. Some people choose to keep their thighs together, and some choose to set them in a V shape. Several people keep their feet touching, while others don't. Whichever you choose is fine, as the goal is to feel a stretch through the spine.
Cat-Cow Pose (Bitilasana Marjaryasana)
If you were only to do one yoga pose to ease your sore muscles, you should definitely make it this pose. The cat-cow pose provides a deep stretch to your back, relieving it of any tension or tightness that it may have.
Many people choose to do this pose throughout the day to relieve any back pain. So if you have muscle soreness or tightness in your back, use this pose as a way to prevent any future muscle soreness from popping up.
- Start on your hands and knees, with your hands placed directly under your shoulders and knees lined up under your hips.
- Inhale slowly, then as you exhale, curl your belly up, curving your spine toward the ceiling, as you bring your chin to your chest. This is the cat pose.
- When you inhale, drop your belly button back down, curving your spine the opposite way. Form a "U" with your back as you open your chest, and sitting bones to the ceiling. This is the cow pose.
- Continue the cat and cow motion for 8 - 12 breaths
Standing Forward Fold (Uttanasana)
This pose provides your back and legs, specifically your hamstrings, with an amazing stretch. It can reduce muscle soreness or tightness in your legs and lower back. You can also do this pose seated if you wish to experience a similar stretch.
- Begin this pose in a downward-facing dog.
- Bring your feet to the top of your mat to where your hands are, keeping your feet shoulder-width apart.
- Fold your torso over as you reach your hands for the ground, keeping your legs as straight as possible. Feel free to bend your knees as needed to keep your back from rounding.
- Keep your chin tucked and keep your shoulders relaxed. Hold this for 1-2 minutes.
You can also opt to move to a half-way lift on your inhale, moving back into a full fold every exhale.
Happy Baby Pose (Ananda Balasana)
This pose is fairly simple but is a great way to open up your hips, support your lower back, and give your back a slight massage. As you do this pose, the more you pull your knees in, the deeper the stretch.
- Start laying on your back, with your knees bent and feet on the floor.
- With your feet flexed, lift your knees toward your chest and pull them down either side of you.
- Wrap your arms inside and around your legs, grabbing your foot or your heels with your hands.
- Bring your knees down to the side of your rib cage while ensuring you have no tension coming from your lower back or tailbone. Keep your hips open and relaxed. Hold for 1-2 minutes.
Wide-Legged Forward Fold (Prasarita Padottanasana I)
If your hamstrings, lower back, or even shoulders are where you feel a lot of your soreness, this is a great place to start to feel some relief in your lower body. You can also use yoga blocks to help lengthen your arms if you cannot reach the ground.
- Begin standing with your feet spread wide apart.
- Keeping your back flat, fold over, bringing your hands, forearms, or forehead to the mat in front of you.
- If you want to feel a bit of an upper-body stretch as well, clasp your hands back behind you as you bend. Hold this pose for 1 minute.
Low Lunge (Anjaneyasana)
If you have been working on your legs, then a low lunge is a great way to stretch out all of the areas of your legs, including your quadriceps and your hips. Remember to keep this stretch passive, though, which means to let gravity pull your back leg down. If you try and resist gravity, you will just be working your legs even more instead of stretching them out.
- Begin this pose in a downward-facing dog.
- When you exhale, step your right foot to be between your hands.
- Lower your left knee to the ground and extend it out behind you until you feel a stretch in your hips and thigh. Keep your hips level.
- When you inhale, tighten your core and sweep your arms up toward the sky.
- Keep your gaze straight ahead. If you feel called, put a slight bend in your back and look to your thumbs.
- Hold for 30 seconds to 1 minute and then do opposite side.
Seated Spinal Twist (Ardha Matsyendrasana)
If you are feeling muscle soreness in either your hips, back or neck, this seated twist is a great way to gently target those areas. Remember to keep yourself seated tall in this pose as you twist.
- Begin seated on the floor. Your legs should be extended in front of you.
- Place your arms behind your back with your hands on the floor, keeping your fingers pointed away from you.
- Bend your left leg placing your left foot on the ground beside your right knee.
- As you exhale, put your right arm down to the outside of your left knee, and turn your chest slightly. Move your head and eyes with your chest.
- Hold this pose for 1 minute. Repeat on the other side.
Triangle Pose (Utthita Trikonasana)
This is a great pose to target multiple muscle groups, including your legs, hamstrings, around your hips, and your shoulders. Also, this gives the sides of your abdomen a nice stretch as you bend to the side.
- Begin this pose standing and spread your feet wide apart.
- Keep the foot you have in front pointed to the front of the room and the foot at the back parallel to the wall at the front of the room. You should have your heels aligned with each other.
- Lift your arms, so they are stretching out to the sides.
- As you exhale, bring your torso over your front leg, bending at your hips.
- Press into the back foot firmly as you rotate your torso to face the side of the room.
- Rest your hand on your shin, on the floor beside your foot and keep the other stretching toward the ceiling. Or place a block next to your foot and rest you hand on it to avoid over stretching.
- Hold the pose for 30 - 60 seconds the repeat on the other side.
If you are looking for a way to help relieve pains caused by muscle soreness or speed up the recovery process, keeping your body moving with the gentle movements used in yoga can be a great option. Poses such as the cat-cow and cobra are some of the best ways to stretch out the areas that feel the tightest.
However, you should avoid any complex movements and remember to always listen to your body. Any sharp or shooting pains are signs that you should ease up or skip the pose altogether.