So you had a really great class last night, and you slept like a baby. But you woke up this morning and everything was sore. What the heck? I thought yoga was supposed to make you feel good!
Though yoga is a low-impact exercise, having sore muscles is pretty common. Muscles are going through physical stress, especially for those who are just starting a yoga practice. Muscle soreness is uncomfortable and might make you feel like skipping your next workout.
Remember, you are using muscles in new and different ways which means the muscles haven't adapted yet... hence, they get strained. Such damaged muscles require time to recover and adapt to poses your body hasn't done before or not very often. Repeated muscular contraction and relaxation can cause microscopic tears in muscle fiber and a build-up of chemicals. Chemicals irritate pain receptors leading to pain and discomfort. Damaged muscles get easily inflamed resulting in that day after workout soreness.
Most muscle soreness after yoga can be remedied at home.
Massage is a great technique used to relax muscles and sooth the pain. Massage relieves tension built up in muscles and helps to lessen the pain and make it go away quicker.
A hot bath can be a miracle. Heat reduces muscle stiffness, making them more relaxed and decreases pain. Heat increases blood flow to affected area and takes away accumulated toxins, which hasten the healing process. For even more relief, add some Epsom salt to your bath water. The magnesium in it relaxes the nervous system, reduces muscle strain and draws toxins from the body.
Stretch major muscle groups before starting your yoga practice. This increases blood flow to these muscles and helps to adapt your muscles to hold each pose for a specific time with less strain.
Potassium, a mineral, is needed for healthy muscular function. Potassium is needed for proper muscle contractions. Eating potassium enriched foods such as bananas, legumes, tomatoes, broccoli, avocados and coconut water can reduce chances of muscle spasms.
Most importantly, DON'T SKIP A CLASS. Keep going. The more regularly you practice, the stronger, healthier and happier your muscles, and your mind, will be!