We get asked everyday about injuries, pain, balance issues etc. and how the hotbox and Suspension Training (TRX) can help. We ain’t no doctors but we can offer up some basic information on our chosen craft, hot yoga and TRX, especially in relation to the issues affecting most of us today. Anyone suffering from the conditions highlighted below will need longer than most to repair and remodel their body and it can be an interesting and sometimes uncomfortable journey!
Adhesions and scar tissue
If you go and get a CT scan, MRI etc. on your body, there will probably be scar tissue and adhesions somewhere! Personally, we’ve got our fair share and that’s what led us to yoga.
For some its years of sport that causes restricted range of motion and flexibility in the body and for others it’s sitting or standing in the same position for hours at a time, the majority of the day. It is rare that our body goes through the full range of motion each day and potentially we don’t even use half!
Joints that aren’t used through full range of motion are the perfect place for calcium oxalate crystals to deposit, causing a painful form of arthritis. Movement clears these deposits, but it takes time and can sometimes be painful.
Muscles that remain tightened in the same position for long periods of time can form hydrogen bonds between the muscle fascia that get more dense with time. Stretching those long-bonded filaments of connective tissue, like moving a crystallized joint, can feel much more intense than simple “stretching”. You have to move slowly, but don’t be afraid of it. Anyone who has fractured a bone knows how long it takes to get the range of motion back into that area and the extreme stiffness you experience.
Scar tissue forms when the body heals from an injury. Scar tissue cannot be eliminated, but it can be remodelled. Through movement and stretching, one can realign the collagen fibers in the lumpy scar tissue so that it is both stronger and more plastic. Through this process, the scar tissue begins to act more like the original, flexible tissue that was in place before the injury. The older the scar tissue, and the more trauma to the area, the more uncomfortable this remodelling process can be.
In the hot room and when using TRX, move with awareness and patience. Sometimes when we want to achieve our fitness/yoga goals too quickly, it can lead to injury. Take your time, watch your alignment and build strength and range of motion in each session.
Osteoarthritis is the condition in which the protective cartilage in a joint is worn down, eventually to painful bone-on-bone contact within a joint. Osteoarthritis generally forms from uneven tissue-loading or repetitive movement. There is no cure for osteoarthritis, but yoga is a great tool to help strengthen the soft muscle tissue around the joint and reduce the amount of painful bone-on-bone contact.
Jack suffers from this in both knees and he has periods of pain, dull aches etc. but the hot room always helps, as long as he does not push too hard and focuses on precise alignment of each posture to build strength around the joint. Basically hot yoga and TRX are holding him together :)
Once the painful bone-on-bone compression is felt, going deeper will only exacerbate the wear and tear on cartilage and bone. This is not a pain to try to tough your way through. Through practice and attention you will find the places where you need to stop before you reach the pain.
Fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus and other autoimmune disorders are often noted for unsourced, chronic pain. Practicing yoga with these conditions can hurt, but the good news is, it can also relieve the long-term pain, although there is no clear explanation of why?
We suppose moving the body with awareness, increasing circulation, improving alignment and strength all goes towards helping these conditions.
Never be too scared to try yoga for these conditions as the body functions best when it is being used and yoga is one of the safest ways to find the limits of your body in any condition and begin to improve your health.
Duck-footed, sway back, head forward etc. etc.
These common misalignments are not in the original design template of the human body and they are probably not genetic either! We learn postural habits from environment.
Some of these misalignments are caused by accident, injury or habit. You may have developed a habit of jutting the ribcage forward at the beach to appear thinner or have a forward head from working at a computer desk all day.
In yoga we try to re-align the body and if at your first class it feels ‘funny’ to place your feet together with your toes touching or to ‘tuck your chin in’ and gently pull your head back over your torso, then keep doing more!
Sore muscles become stronger muscles
We know that after your first TRX session, there is soreness and for most of us it’s the type of soreness where you can’t sit down or get up!
Muscles need stress to become stronger. One of the side effects of that stress is delayed onset muscle soreness. While it is certainly possible to over-exert yourself in TRX and hot yoga, the good old DOMS is a natural part of increasing strength. This form of discomfort initiates within 24-48 hours of exertion and should resolve itself within three days. Tolerable sore muscles mean progress. Don’t be scared.
If you want to use hot yoga or TRX to change your body, and your life, you need to listen to the cues and use the mirror to get the maximum benefit from your practice/class.
If you have for example, neck problems, don’t twist your spine and collapse your chest in half moon to get deeper. If you have sacroiliac injury, then Standing bow is fantastic if your hips are aligned, not if your leg is out to the side. The words we use create specific actions in your body. Move with the words and cues from the instructor and tune into your own body.
If you are injured, come as regular as you can to the hot box and work on alignment and then work on depth and intensity. Once you get the alignment sorted and you’ve chipped away at some of the issues, you’ll get the privilege of depth.
One of the main reasons yoga helps you to recover from an injury is blood flow. Increased circulation helps support and speed repair and rehabilitation. The tricky part is not letting a misguided ego tell you to go for it even though your injury is really bothering you that day.