When it comes to improving our yoga practice there is nothing more important than actually practicing. Head stands, hand stands and deeper poses (all while maintaining a calm mind and steady breath!) require courage, patience and focus. It does not come easily and does not come quickly. It requires dedication and perseverance. It requires muscles and tissues to lengthen and strengthen, and our brain to learn new patterns. It demands that our ideas of who we are and how we relate to the world and others change.
There are fewer things in life more gratifying and beneficial than progressing physically and emotionally as one does with a dedicated yoga practice. Along the way injuries happen, muscles get sore, we hit setbacks, we face difficulty, we change, we grow.
Acupuncture and associated modalities of bodywork, cupping, gentle restorative exercise may be the most powerful tool for any yogi along their journey. Here are five reasons why regular acupuncture treatments are the Yogi’s best friend.
1. Heal injuries quickly and get back to the mat
Oriental medicine is the original sports medicine! Developed over thousands of years of addressing the injuries sustained in martial arts and in battle, ancient physicians became experts in getting warriors back to the dojo and the battlefield quickly and effectively.
2. Improve balance and coordination
One reason we can’t reach a deeper pose or maintain a headstand is because our brain is not getting a clear signal from our limbs about where they are in space, and when our brain doesn’t get a clear picture it panics. Acupuncture reprograms the pathways that tell us where we are in space and allows our brain to know where everything is.
3. Heal nagging pains that you feel on the mat
Many people have no idea how good they are designed to feel! They assume the aches and pains are necessary mile markers along the path. More likely they are the result of old injuries that haven’t healed properly or repetitive stressors that don’t have the chance to heal. Getting to the root of these injuries will make your practice so much more enjoyable.
4. Improve your sleep to improve your practice
Much of the scientific literature coming out about why we need sleep is pointing to learning new skills. When we sleep our brain has the time to actually make the new connections of a newly acquired pose, sequence or skill. Acupuncture treatments improve sleep because they reprogram our system to get back on it’s natural cycle.
5. Acupuncture is Savasana on (natural) steroids
Acupuncture treatments are opportunities to rest, restore and let your system reset. By stimulating specific areas on the body during this rest acupuncture treatments promote the smooth flow of natural functions that are blocked and leave us feeling calm, rejuvenated, and in an improved state, just like a deep Savasana.
If you’re committed to your yoga practice and committed to your health you owe it to yourself to take care of your body, mind and spirit. Don’t let injuries or aches and pains keep you off the mat.
By Zach Haigney, L.A.c.