Between the vertebrae are spinal discs that act as shock absorbers. These discs crave movement, and without proper care, can become herniated, and compress the nerves. Proper movement is the only way in which they are able to get their nutrients. You can keep your discs supple when you have a well-balanced Asana practice, with lots of twists, forward bends, and backbends.
Every time you have a yoga session, your joints are moved through their full range of motion. Because you are “squeezing and soaking” cartilage in areas which are not normally used, you help to mitigate disability and prevent degenerative arthritis. You could think of joint cartilage as similar to a sponge; fresh nutrients can only be received when the fluid within the cartilage is squeezed out and a new supply of nutrient rich fluid can be soaked up again. When cartilage does not received the proper sustenance and is neglected, after a period of time it simply wears out; this exposes the underlying bone similar to worn-out brake pads.
Your head is like a big, heavy, round bowling ball sitting on top of your shoulders. When it is properly balanced, directly over your erect spine, much less effort is needed by the muscles on your back and neck in order to support it. By only moving it a few inches forward, those muscles begin to be strained. If you continue to keep that forward posture, with that heavy load, 48 to 12 hours daily, is there any wonder why you feel so tired? There may be other problems also, not just fatigue. There may be joint, muscle, neck, and back problems to go along with the poor posture. As you continue to slump, your body will naturally compensate by flattening the normal curves of your lower back and neck. This, in turn, can lead to pain and degenerative arthritis within the spine.
One of the more obvious and first noticed benefits of yoga is that of improved flexibility. When you have your first class, most likely you will be unable to reach your toes, much less, do a backbend. But as you continue with your yoga, gradually you will notice a loosening, and the ability to get into poses that you once thought would be impossible, as they become possible. You will also most likely see your pains and aches begin to disappear. Obviously this is not just a coincidence. When your hips are tight, knee joints can be strained because of improper alignment between the shinbones and thigh. The lumbar spine can be flattened when hamstrings are too tight, causing back pain; and of course poor posture can be caused by the lack of flexibility of connective tissue and muscles, like ligaments and fascia.
Proprioception is demonstrated in your ability to locate your body in space. Proprioception is usually poor in those with posture or balance problems which often causes back pain. Your falls are limited when you have better balance. If you are an elderly person, this means Yoga can reduce the appointments you have with the nurse every year as a result of falls – you may not even need to get a nurse in a whole year. This is not for the elderly ones alone, the rest of us can still enjoy postures like Tree Pose which can significantly reduce your instability on and off the mat.
If you prefer a gentler yoga experience, you should try one of the resort’s classes in Hatha Yoga. This style is all about finding your balance. The word Hatha is from Indian Sanskrit and is translated to mean sun and moon. These celestial bodies symbolize the duality of life, much like Yin and Yang. In practicing Hatha you will learn the Asana’s (positions) and Pranayama (breathing) techniques that will help to align your chakras, allowing you to access their energy to promote health and happiness. With time and devotion you will find your love increasing, inspiring you to continue your practice.
If you are looking to refresh your whole body, the Yoga Retreat offers a full detox program. There are two lengths of detox programs you can try at the retreat. The first is from three to seven days and the second more intense detox is from ten to fourteen days. Whichever detox you commit to, you will feel rejuvenated and revitalized. The retreats detox programs will also help build your immune system so you can stave off disease and live a healthier life.
A detox will give your digestive system a break so your body can focus its energy into repairing your system. You will heal your vital systems, enhancing your quality of life. Your detox guides will also help you reach a mental place of peace and tranquility so that you can also heal yourself mentally and spiritually. The staff will be there to help you every step of the way, but it is also up to you to decide what path your detox will take. You will be given the tools to start a new lifestyle so that you will be able to continue your journey to healthy living after you leave the retreat.
Preparing for Detox
During your detox your body will go into a state of rest but you will need to be physically and mentally prepared for the transition. Before your cleanse, you can prepare by eating smaller meals, gradually getting your body used to eating less. You should focus on eating fruits and vegetables while avoiding high-fat foods, sugars, alcohol and caffeine.
To prepare your mind it can be helpful to read about the steps of the detox and talk with others who have done it before. Telling friends and family about your plans can give you the support you will need and help you clear your mind of any barriers.
You can choose to do your pre-cleanse at the Yoga Retreat, where they will provide you with raw natural foods.
The typical lengths of different yoga retreats
Yoga retreats come in all different shapes and sizes and can be found all over the world. In recent years Thailand has come into its own in this area with a number of world leading resorts located particularly on the Southern Island gaining great popularity. The length of the retreats and courses available vary greatly and most, including one of the leading retreats, known simply as The Yoga Retreat, offers retreats ranging from 3 days to 30 days. This particular one is based on Koh Phangan, one of the most beautiful and popular islands in the South of Thailand.
A great variety of visitors pass through here, including backpackers, holidaymakers and health and wellness seekers. The variation is course lengths means that there are retreats available to all. Whether you are passing through and looking for a short and intense yoga retreat to keep you well practised or a month long course to immerse yourself in the world of physical and mental wellbeing, you will find it at The Yoga Retreat. As well as these two extremes, there is also plenty in-between such as a 3-10 day detox or a 10-14 day chakra healing.