Benefits of Slow Moving Yoga

Slow moving yoga has many benefits.  When a yoga pose is held for two to three minutes, muscles can relax and lengthen.  Also, slow, long held poses work on deeper connective tissues more than fast paced movements do.

Our bones are held together by connective tissues called ligaments, our muscles are fastened to bone with connective tissue called tendons, and our organs and muscles are surrounded by connective tissue called fascia.

All these connective tissues need yoga therapy.  Slow, long held poses gently, therapeutically pull the skeleton apart, so muscles and connective tissues receive gentle expansion.

This action rehabilitates muscles and connective tissues and helps keep them from shortening and stiffening as we age.

Another benefit is that slow moving yoga encourages more synovial fluid to be present in the joints, which brings more lubrication to help facilitate easier movement.

Let’s start with just one slow, long held pose.  If you are able to do this three times a week you will notice change for the better.  This pose will help elongate your hamstrings, and connective tissues along your entire back body, which, among many benefits, will help free up your lower back.

1. The first thing you do is sit on the floor with legs out in front of you.  Sit firmly on your sit bones. (ischial tuberosities)

If your hamstrings are tight, sit up on a pillow and bend your knees a bit.  

You can put a rolled up towel under your knees.

2. Then inhale and sit tall.  

3. Exhale, hinge at the hips and fold forward.  It’s okay if your back is rounded in this pose.  You can lean on a chair if you like.

Do not try to force anything, back off if you feel pain, relax, breath, and allow gravity to gradually take your chest down toward your thighs.images-1

If you are flexible enough,

1. Inhale and sit tall,

2. then exhale and hinge at the hips and bring your chest to your thighs.images

The red highlights in the above photo shows the entire back body being elongated. Lengthening happens from the top of your head to the bottom of your feet.

You may be somewhere in between these two photos with your flexibility, in any case, stay in this position, wherever you are. Relax and allow gravity to take your chest down toward your thighs.

It is not necessary to actually get your chest to your thighs to receive the benefits of the entire back body stretch, but that is the direction to move toward.  Everyone has different degrees of flexibility depending on length of bones and connective tissue. Not everyone will be able to fold completely in half, but each individual can work toward being as flexible as possible for them.

Stay in this position for two to three minutes. You will notice benefits right away.


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