Tag Archives: yoga

Benefits of Inversion

Its mid summer and wakeboarding is in full swing. This means lots of riding, progression, new tricks, and unfortunately, tired and sore bodies. One part of the body that gets taxed the most during wakeboarding is the spine. The spine is our center where most of the shock absorption occurs. The discs, which sit in between each of our vertebra, or back bones, are little cushions that help translate the pressure that happens when we jump, land,  twist, and bend. Keeping these discs healthy is important to avoid nerve injury, compression fractures to the spine, and disc bulging or herniation.

There are two very easy ways to keep discs healthy and continue riding safely and pain free. The first is simple has been written about before. Hydration. Drinking water hydrates the discs, making them taller and more supportive. Water also helps to keep the surrounding muscles, tendons and ligaments pliable and stretchy, which are good qualities of tissue to keep you injury free. Keep a bottle of water with you wherever you are: home, boat, cable, work etc. This will encourage you to drink more. Also, be sure to replenish lost water from sweat and exercise after riding and/or working out. Sun, wind, and sweating can dehydrate you quickly!

 

 

 

Handstand  Inversion Table

 

images: http://www.wholeliving.com and http://www.inversiontableanalysis.com

 

The second way to keep your discs healthy is inversion.  Inversion is the act of turning upside down in order to let gravity undo the daily pressures put on the spine. There are a few ways to invert, using a inversion table, which allows you to hang from your feet, or doing a head or handstand (freestanding or against a wall.) Both have astounding benefits for the body. These benefits include:

1. Natural decompression: Gravity pulls the spine in the opposite direction as our upright life, allowing for traction in the spine which increases the disc height, gives more space for the nerves and relieves pain. Not only does decompression help the spine, it also helps with hips, knees and ankles as well!

2. Posture correction and flexibility: Inversion stretches musculature and allows our bodies to elongate in the axial direction. This allows for misalignments in the spine to be corrected and slouching in the shoulders and middle back to be undone. Inversion keeps the muscles, tendons and ligaments flexible keeping joints healthy.

3. Circulation and Energy: Inversion allows for the heart to be above the head, causing a surge of circulation to the brain. This allows for increased energy, mental clarity and focus. The movement in the blood can cause a release in neurotransmitters causing an increase in mood as well. Increasing circulation also cleans the blood and moves lymph, helping with immunity.

Inversion can be done daily and should be held for 10-20 seconds upside down, then 10-20 seconds back at neutral (or right side up)  for a total of 10 minutes maximum. This allows for a pumping motion in the spine, causing the most nutrients, blood flow and hydration to return to the discs. Also, it is not necessary to be completely upside down. Many of the benefits of inversion can be received by moving the head below the heart, like in downward dog or shoulder stand, the yoga poses.

downward dog shoulder stand

 

 

 

 

 

images: http://www.the-yoga-connection.com and http://www.health.com

 

Note: Inversion is not for everyone. If you suffer from a heart condition, glaucoma, bone weakness, high blood pressure, ear infection, pregnancy, stroke, retinal detachment or significant spinal injury, inversion is contraindicated. Please consult a medical professional before trying inversion.

 

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Staying Warm in the Offseason: Bikram Yoga

Nothing like the days getting shorter, the water getting colder, and the wetsuits coming out of storage. As winter approaches, riding time becomes less and less and free time increases. Why not stay warm and stay in shape?

Bikram yoga is a style of yoga consisting of 26 postures, done at a temperature of 105 degrees. According to Bikram, “It has been proved and experienced by millions that these 26 postures systematically work every part of the body, to give all the internal organs, all the veins, all the ligaments, and all the muscles everything they need to maintain optimum health and maximum function.  Each component takes care of something different in the body, and yet they all work together synergistically, contributing to the success of every other one, and extending its benefits.”

Image: onday32sherested.tumblr.com

The heat increases flexibility and cleanses the body of toxins and wastes, while impurities are flushed out with sweating. The classes are 90 minutes long and include 2 breathing exercises. The class allows for deep stretching, increasing flexibility and preventing injury. Not only does Bikram encourage lengthening of the muscles, but holding the poses (called isometric contraction), promotes strengthening and toning of the muscles. The typical participant burns from 500 to 1200 calories per session, which contributes to weight loss.

Bikram yoga is not for the faint at heart, this type of yoga is far from relaxing! If you’re up for a challenge this offseason and are in need of some cross-training to stay in shape, heat it up and give Bikram yoga a shot!

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