Sore muscles are not just something you can earn at the gym, they also come from something as innocent looking as yoga. Been there, done that – I can guarantee you that yoga will make you just as sore, if not more sore than a treadmill or a spinning machine. The question is – is there a way to avoid this mind-numbing (often almost debilitating) pain and sore muscles?
The DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) is basically the pain you experience after you’re ruptured microfibers in your muscles during exercise. This happens to everyone and essentially is the reason why your muscles grow (after all those tiny tiny muscle ruptures, your muscles heal and the ‘scarring‘ of the regrowth is what makes your muscles bulkier). So the point is – ultimately this will hurt. There are ways to relieve the pain, you can learn to be more mindful of your boundaries but there’s nothing that will make the pain nonexistent (soz!).
Know your muscles
The first and perhaps most important step towards less soreness in your muscles is learning to understand your muscles. Yoga Anatomy by Kaminoff & Matthews (buy here) is a brilliant book to give you a head-start in understanding how muscles work during yoga flows. When you’re not careful yoga can become very dangerous – back-bends carried out carelessly can result in life-long back problems because, believe it or not, your spine has not been made to bend that way. And that goes with all poses, even twisting your ankles the wrong way during a downward facing dog can bring on all kinds of pain. Be patient with your flows, learn your limits and don’t go over them, just push them gently (no broken back, okay?).
The infamous salt from Epsom, Surrey. Athletes use it to sooth their sore muscles, gardeners use it to improve their crops. You can use it to soothe sore back and hips after pushing that flow a little too far this morning. At least two cupfuls of Epsom salt (buy here) per one full bath. And soak, soak, soak and soak. Tomorrow you’ll feel better!
You could easily throw in a bunch of lavender or thyme to your bath and it would be ever so lovely but chances are you might not have these on hand. What you can grab instead is a relaxing bath oil (I already praised Yogandha before – a full review is here) or shower oil (I like the Fenjal one – buy here, it smells beautifully!). Both alternatives works well for muscle pain relief.
I know, I know, rest days are for chickens and little weaklings. But do have at least one rest day every now and then to allow your muscle ruptures to heal. No rest days essentially means ruptures of ruptures on top of raw ruptures. And that ain’t pleasant!