Did you ever wonder what happens to your body after you start practicing yoga? For me personally, I was drawn to yoga because I was looking for some relief from achy muscles, increasing my flexibility and increasing my lung capacity. I was taking on running longer distances and I my body needed more recovery than just doing a couple stretches.
I started attending classes at my neighborhood studio. Every week, I would attend these hot classes (that's what I wanted at the time) and I felt my muscles start to relax and open. I worked a day job at the time and sitting at a computer for nine hours a day did a number on my neck, shoulders, hips and legs. What I realized later after I became a teacher was these openings and relaxation I was feeling was my body creating space and creating flexibility.
As time went on I noticed I could reach my toes in a seated forward fold, my heels, reached a little closer in downdog and I could open my hips a little further in butterfly than I could before.. So you’re probably wondering how does this work? The simple answer would be that it takes time and patience. Doing these poses almost daily helped open my hips and hamstrings. The nerdy anatomy answer to this question. My fascia is remodeling itself.
What does this mean exactly? It took me a bit to understand, it was actually Yin yoga that helped me “Get it”. When you hold folds and hip openers a little longer (3-5 minutes) your fascia that’s intertwined with your muscles starts to reshape itself. It leaves you with the feeling that your muscles are longer. That fascia stuff is like a plasticy material in your body that takes its good old time to lengthen and reshape depending on the pose. Remember I mentioned touching my toes in my seated forward fold? The fascia in my hamstrings started to remold itself, it allowed me to fold further and it allowed me to bring my heels closer to the ground in downdog.
At the end of the day, yoga has taught me about my body. My recovery after half marathons has lessened due to the little bit of practice I did each day. I was once told that “Practice makes practice”, I'm not sure who told me that, but they are definitely words I live by.