I am an avid stretcher, I guess that is why I also practice yoga. I love stretching, whether it be first thing in the morning, while I am cooking, along with my my yoga students while I’m teaching, waiting in line at the grocery store or even while reading. There just always seems to be something that needs to be adjusted in my body and sometimes a really good stretch does the trick. My study and practice of Yoga Tune Up® has made finding the balance of stretching and strengthening much more ingrained in me. However, I am still stubborn.
I continue to work on an imbalance between my left and right torso that is affecting everything from my glutes, to my lower back, even into my obliques and psoas. This might be a common theme for you, you continuously stretch and stretch the tight side; this is the one that is giving you some nagging pain, but completely forget or choose to avoid the other side, the one that is weak or has poor tone. You may even come to a point that you get relief from stretching the hypertonic side and may even over do it without realizing the harm that you are causing. So, in this scenario, you continue to overstretch one side of the body that you feel is still tight, and then avoid the weak side of the body, the one that needs more strengthening.
Yoga Tune Up® offers the best of both worlds and in my opinion is a great way of incorporating the strengthening aspects into a yoga practice and hopefully into your everyday life. Understanding what a stretch is doing and what it should and should not feel like is key as well as understanding when you should be stretching and when you need to be strengthening.
When stretching, there are a range of sensations that can occur. In the area that is being stretched, generally, a nice, warming feeling should be felt. This can usually be felt around either the origin or insertion of the muscle. If you move too deeply, a burning or stinging-like sensation, almost like pins and needles, may be felt, and if you really overdo it, a feeling of sharp pain should cause you to recoil. When you get to point where you are feeling that burning sensation and not warming, it should be a sign that you need to back off a bit or just discontinue stretching. Generally after a session of stretching, you should not feel too sore, but if you do the following day, it can be an indication that some tissue damage may have occurred and it will be important to give it some time to heal.
So, a lot of the principles around what should be felt when stretching also apply when performing any yoga asanas as well as when using the Yoga Tune Up® Therapy Balls. When applying some amount of pressure with the YTU balls on a muscle, you are stretching that muscle. Understanding what range of sensation you feel when moving will ensure that you get the good stretch you need.
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