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  • Writer's pictureDessislava Mladenova

Can Yoga Enhance Joint Health and Mobility in Adulthood?

Updated: Apr 8


A drawing of a girl in a deep side lunge, her tongue purposefully stuck out boldly and fiercely.
Me, embodying a fierce monster, moving with newly found freedom and fluidity. Image credit: DessiYoga

 


When I began a regular Yoga practice in my living room, my intention was to care for my body through a gentle form of physical movement. Unexpectedly, profound changes unfolded, particularly in my joint health and mobility.



From my experience, I can affirm that you don't necessarily need to start practicing Yoga in your youth to enjoy the benefits of healthy joints.


I embarked on my Yoga journey at the age of 40, with no prior sports or dance background, apart from brief stints in tennis during my teenage years and rock climbing in my 30s. Although my childhood involved a lot of outdoor play, climbing trees, and running in grass fields, my teenage and adult years were mostly spent hunched over books or a microscope.


When I started Yoga, my body wasn't in great shape, especially concerning my upper back mobility. While I didn't experience joint pain, engaging in vigorous exercises would result in tension and discomfort. My body would signal clearly that it was time to halt these joint-impacting activities.


In the playground, I was never the one actively playing monster games with my children. 

Have you ever played the monster game with the little ones in your life? It's that game where you chase them madly, taking tight, swift turns around poles and swings, jumping up slides, and swinging yourself on the climbing frame.


You crouch close to the ground with a terrifying growl and crawl on your hands and feet, eliciting a reliable mixture of excited screaming and laughter through tears.


Yes, that was NEVER me!



However, things changed a year and a half into my regular Yoga practice. I not only played an intense monster game but initiated it myself, responding to a newfound impulse with unprecedented enthusiasm.



 

What triggered this urge?


I believe what allowed me to move so freely and imaginatively was the sense of “I feel safe and supported in my body”. My body's wisdom felt that changing direction rapidly while running at speed around a tight corner was safe for my ankles and knees.


Swinging my arms up and throwing them down with force felt safe for my shoulders. Hanging on the fireman’s pole and spiraling down the pole seemed very reasonable, and landing in a wide-legged squat was not only safe but also required of me. * By the way, don't attempt any of these without sufficient progressive training unless your body can handle it.


My favorite part was poking my tongue out and vocalizing growls and deep-throat sounds.




How did Yoga achieve this transformation?




 

A joint's stability relies on the support provided by tendons, ligaments, and other connective tissues.


Yoga, through carefully designed movements, encourages the body to take various shapes, balancing and re-balancing muscles and tissues. This conscious and progressive approach prepares the body for an increased range of motion, improved joint mobility, and the healthy stimulation of synovial fluid.



Yoga practitioners move through poses with awareness, avoiding injuries and fostering a consistent progression.


The nervous system actively participates in this joint transformation. It signals muscles and tissues to release when appropriate, keeping a log of newly found tissue length, strength, or range of motion. When opportunities arise, the nervous system invites exploration, opening the door to a universe of new possibilities.


In signing off, I'm eager to share the transformative gifts of Yoga with you. Excited to be a part of your journey toward improved joint health and mobility!








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