To begin we improve the range of movement of the joints (this is part of the flexibility that yoga will gift you, we’ll talk more on it) and the new extended range of movement permits to the synovial fluid (see previous post) to access a bigger surface of the joint thus increasing its lubricating effect and bringing more nutrients and oxygen as well as removing more carbon dioxide and waste material from the areas around the cartilage.
This is very easy to comprehend… if the range of movement of the joint expands, the area benefiting the effects of synovial fluid will expand… do you think that your cartilage will be happy to have more “oil” around to help her when you move?!?
Then we have the benefits on ligaments and tendons… for sure the joint will open a bit and they will be a bit longer and efficient but we don’t want to work directly on this aspect, the sustainable stretch for a ligament/tendon is very little, maybe 1% to 4%, some more in some cases, consider that ligaments are there to hold your bones together, they’re not supposed to be too elastic so always remember: we want to stretch mainly muscles, not ligaments and tendons! What we get from their use in an extended variety of movements and conditions will be to strengthen our ligaments and tendons, they will become as the steel in reinforced concrete… per example in an efficient knee joint your body weight will be distributed between ligaments/tendons and muscles and bones… in case of weakness this doesn’t happen, the weight maybe could be all on your cartilage and maybe, because of your posture, can be all on a small surface of the cartilage… cartilages are strong but not made of steel, can you imagine the effect of this unbalance after some weeks or months or years, considering that by definition you are constantly acting and moving this articulating joint?
Here we come to the best/worst part!
It is worst because all these parts, ligaments, tendons, cartilages are little vascularized, few blood vessels are present or dealing with them… in few words if you damage them the healing process will be from hard to impossible (yes, it’s the blood that brings “life” to all the parts of your body!)… that’s why degenerative diseases are common in joints, typically from a weakness originates an unbalanced posture, from this more stress on some parts of your body, from this excessive work of some joint and from this in a due time you can have a cartilage beginning to tear… now the degeneration can start!
Opposite to vascularization, these areas are well served by nervous system… this is very important for the movement and your proprioception capacity (we’ll talk on this) but… yes, this will contribute to make you more sensible to pain in these areas!
Now the best part!!! You know this stuff so you can work on it, in this case we really have to work on the prevention of future diseases, specially if you spend your days as typically we spend days in this society, this is the real cause of many problems… if you live moving in the open air you’re safe but… now we sit for hours in front of computers, facebooking or working or facebooking at work (!!), we dive in smartphones whenever we can, we stand for hours in a shop waiting for next customer, television on the couch and blablabla!!! Virtually everything we do in this modern life can damage our body if we’re not aware of our movements and position!
And the very best… you are totally responsible for your health, act consequently!!!
How do we obtain the benefits from yoga? Almost every pose will bring some action in some joint, this action will be mindful and aware… you will feel the parts of the body you’re working on and you will be present in them with your mind (this is yoga, being present in your body with your mind, don’t expect it at the first class eheheh!)… this will bring your movements under your conscious control, you will learn how to move and sit and stand in a way that your body will appreciate… we’ll expand more this concepts later!
Furthermore for joints health there are specific sequences (example: pawanmuktasana series part I)… anyway let’s talk later!
A little link, 10 ways to protect joint… nothing special but everything aimed at increasing the awareness of your body and its possible vulnerabilities!