Yoga is a form of meditation, exercise, and spiritualization or any combination of which for many. People use yoga and its many variety of poses to help improve their health, mood and mind from day to day. But does yoga help with muscle recovery? Yes yoga does indeed help with muscle recovery.
Although just like with training your muscles it will only work if it’s done correctly and effectively.
This article will look at what type of yoga is the most effective for muscle recovery, what are some of the best poses to promote muscle recovery, what kind of yoga you should stay away from while recovering, how much time you should spend doing yoga while recovering, and when you should stay away from yoga altogether.
What Type Of Yoga Is Good For Recovery?
There are many different types and styles of yoga from places all around the world but here we like to keep it simple and are going to stick to two types that are somewhat umbrella. So what type of yoga is good for muscle recovery? I would say yin yoga and restorative yoga are most beneficial on top of your workout for muscle recovery.
In yin yoga gravity does most of the work as you go through a number of seated poses that are held for a good length of time, usually a minute or longer.
This is good because it does not require much strength or effort to take part in making it easy no matter how active or at what fitness level you’re at, and holding the poses for this extended period of time allows your muscles along with your tendons to stretch and lengthen.
The quality stretching will make your muscles more flexible, relaxing them in the process which recovery is heavily about, relaxing. As an added bonus this will also increase circulation to your muscles helping deliver nutrients essential for a faster recovery.
Restorative yoga is another type of yoga that will definitely aid your muscles in recovery. As you might have guessed each exercise helps to rest and restore your inner self whether it be body or mind this kind of yoga helps restore both.
Restorative yoga involves very little physical exercise and only a few poses that are held for extended lengths of time and could even be held the whole workout as poses from this kind of yoga should involve virtually no effort and should be calm and relaxing.
During these effortless poses breathing is what is often if not always focused on. Attempting to breath in good energy and feelings as all the stress, negative feelings, and thoughts of the past are escaping the mind and body with every exhale.
Doing this kind of yoga is very effective in shortening recovery time because as stated it helps release day to day stress from the body and rest your mind.
The only reason recovery is needed in the first place is to heal from all the stress that comes along with each workout as your training your body. Whether it be mental or physical stress your workouts every week impact both requiring rest and a more active form of rest like yoga is most beneficial.
What Are The Best Yoga Poses For Muscle Recovery?
Yoga has hundreds and hundreds of different poses to go along with the many different styles of yoga so what are the best yoga poses for muscle recovery? The truth is there is no “best” pose for muscle recovery, we are all at different levels and have different issues and different needs as well.
That being said I will give you one pose from each of the types of yoga above that I believe would be the most effective for the majority of people.
From the yin style of yoga the “Dragon” pose has to be one of my favorite as you can’t go wrong. Personally I find the stretch just incredible and it covers pretty much the entire lower body which is made up of some of the biggest muscles in the body so they should be treated as so and with extra attention especially after a leg workout. (see Muscle Recovery For Leg Day)
Supported Forward Fold
From a restorative yoga standpoint, I would have to go with the “supported forward fold” if I only could choose one pose. This pose is very easy to relax in if you do it right, involves even less effort then the rest of the poses, and helps recover and give strength to your back especially the lower back which takes a tole from your workouts or even day to day life.
The back is made up of some really big muscles just like your legs and likewise they need lots of attention. And as mentioned the lower back is a region lots of people have issues with, if it’s an issue with their upper body due to stress or overworking whether it be in the gym or out, it’s probably going to be a lower back problem.
What Kind Of Yoga Should You Stay Away From While Recovering?
The best part is any kind of yoga can possibly be done during recovery but not all would be optimal. What kind of yoga should you stay away from while recovering? You must judge for yourself still especially if you are not at a level of high athletics kinds of yoga such as power yoga or anything similar to it should be stayed away from.
These kinds of yoga are more power based and involve more rapid change in movements and quick actions that can be challenging and very easily taxing for many. Whatever the case yoga is a form of exercise that still requires days of practice each week to get better at.
How Much Time Should You Spend Doing Yoga?
On rest days although it is a very good and effective activity you still do not want to partake in too much yoga. How much time should you spend doing yoga? I would say just for productivity sake keep it no longer then a 2-hour session or if you feel like you have a load of extra time two 90-minute sessions a day if you choose.
As a minimal amount I would say at least do 45 minutes of yoga to see positive effects, one hour of yoga is the perfect middle ground. Yoga can be done every day of the week and should be done most days in my opinion as the active recovery and extra practice is always beneficial. Yoga should only be avoided in specific cases.
If you do yoga for too long that can take away from time being spent doing other things for recovery such as eating and sleeping and other fitness related activities. It would take a lot of yoga to get these kinds of negative things from it so that being said it would be very hard to do too much yoga.
When Should You Stay Away From Yoga All Together?
There are some specific cases you should stay away from yoga all together. Now this is not because yoga is no longer effective but more so it would cause more harm than good.
You should stay away from yoga all together if you are just recovering from a very serious accident and can barely move. The little moving you can do should not be used to do yoga, lay in bed and rest for the days to come.
Also if there are days you are so exhausted from training that you can barely move due to pure exhaustion, again do not do yoga. Stay in bed and get your energy back as you have used too much of it to do any kind of further physical activity.
Most importantly if you are not sure of being well enough to partake in yoga due to whether it be due an accident or something else please ask your doctor before proceeding and take the proper steps needed to ensure your safety and efficient muscle recovery.