Whatever type of exercise you enjoy, if you regularly train you are exposing yourself to potential injury. It’s very easy to do – for example if you haven’t warmed up enough, if you’re pushing yourself too hard or even if you just lose concentration for a moment.
The most common muscle groups that can be injured include:
- Hip and groin muscles
- Calf muscles
- Extensor muscles in the back
The trouble is that once an injury occurs, you need to ensure that everything has healed properly before you start training again. Otherwise you risk further or worse injury. This can be frustrating if it puts your training schedule behind – particularly if you’re on course for a race or event.
So how can you help your muscles to heal, without pushing yourself too far? Yoga could be an answer you haven’t considered before. It can gently stretch your muscles and joints, stimulate circulation of joint fluids and reduce inflammation. Some specific poses can really help you to recover from sports injuries.
Before you get started, invest in the best yoga shorts you can find for comfort, and remember to breathe calmly and deeply.
image source: https://flic.kr/p/dj1VLV
Chair pose or Utkatasana
This pose will help to rehabilitate a shin injury.
Stand with your back against a wall, arms hanging your side. Slowly bend your knees and move your body down the wall until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Bring your feet out in line with your knees.
Place your hands against the wall to take pressure off your shins (for a gentler stress). Then, as your injury heals you can place your hands on top of your thighs instead. Hold for 30 to 60 seconds, depending on what feels comfortable.
Seated forward bend or Uttanansana
The lliotibial band is the ligament that runs down your leg from your hip to your shin. If overused it can become inflamed, which can be very painful This pose will help to rehabilitate an injury.
Sit on the floor with your legs straight out in front of you, keeping your knees together, and feet flexed so that your toes are pointing up (this is an important point).
Reach up your arms and keep your back straight, and then hinge your body forwards and down, extending out over your legs. Try to reach or hold onto your toes – don’t forget to keep your legs straight too. If you can reach your toes, try using a strap or a towel wrapped around your feet then hold onto each end.
Hold for 30 to 60 seconds. You may not be able to hold the pose very long to start with, but you should soon progress and become more flexible as the injury heals.
Pigeon pose (modified) or Eka Pada Rajakapotasana
This pose will help to rehabilitate a hip flexor injury – however you should check with your doctor or specialist before you attempt it.
Lie on your back and bring your knees to your chest. Bend your right leg over your left thigh and rest the side of your ankle across the top of your thigh. Put your right arm through the hole in your legs and grab your shin, pulling it gently towards you. If you can’t reach your shin, place your right hand on the back of your left thigh and create a stretch by pulling it towards you. Hold for 30 t0 60 seconds then repeat on the other side.