If you are a science student, you may know about tension and compression. However, for the others, who do not know about it, we are going to make it easy. Tension mainly comes from a Latin word, ‘to stretch’. You can create tension on a rope, a chain, or a cable. Now, every material, that you will come across may develop tension. And materials also include the body parts, like bones, muscles and tendons. Compression is also another force, that you may find in day-to-day life. It mainly stresses the squeezing of materials. There is a point, when the body’s muscles and tendons reach the maximum compressed state, wherein you cannot exert any more pressure.
In the case of fitness or a holistic realm like Yoga, these forces act on the muscles and tendons of the body. When you enroll for any yoga teacher training course or any yoga course in general, you will come across these terms in anatomical lessons. The anatomical lessons that are a part of the course, will include asanas, where you move the joints. Most yoga poses exert some amount of stress on the joints. Always remember, that it is the joints that undergo stress first, and then the bones. As you may be already knowing by now, the two stress types are tension and compression.
When Do You Encounter Such Stress?
Most yoga schools that have already been in the business for a long time, will be able to throw some light on these anatomical actions and reactions. There are yang styles of yoga and there are yin styles of yoga. If you have been practicing yoga for a while, you must know that Hatha Yoga, Ashtanga Yoga and Vinyasa Yoga are all yang styles. Kundalini or Yin yoga is more yin. When you are engaging your body in the latter, you are mainly activating the muscle tissues, so that joints are stabilized and stay protected. Take the example of the Warrior pose. You have to engage your hamstrings and the quadriceps as you perform this asana. Your actions take away much of the stress from the knee joints.
Similarly, in Yin yoga, you relax the muscles and activate the connective tissues. This puts minimal stress on the joints. The Butterfly pose is one of the poses, where this happens. You are actually relaxing the legs and back muscles, and exerting stress on the joints of the knees, groin area, lower back, and the ankles. When you do poses, that exert compression, its leads to stimulation of bones. If you end up exerting too much compression, it can also lead to pain and inflammation. But, when you exert compression on muscle tissues and connective tissues, tears occur in the micro- fibres. These tears help the tissues to elongate. When the tissues elongate and strengthen, your range of motion also increases slowly.
So, this brings us to the point, where you may want to know, why you feel discomfort at times, when practicing yoga. If you face compression, then you must be exerting too much force on any body part. It can give away and break, if you are not careful. On the other hand, if you experience tension, it means that there is a lot of opportunity to open up. You should be aware of the body and do it in a safe manner.
Ways To Compress
There are quite a few ways, you can compress the body parts, and gain myriad benefits. When you do forward bends and inverted poses, it leads to compression. Take the example of the Sirsa asana or the Downward Dog pose. These poses also facilitate blood supply to the sinus. It also enhances the performance of the immunity system and leads to recuperation from various respiratory ailments. When you do twist poses, you are actually wringing your muscles and connective tissues. These moves can also compress the internal organs in the abdominal cavity. The longer the duration of the pose, the better it is for your body.
You can also engage in yoga compression exercises, which is equivalent to a form of meditation. This process releases endorphins in the brain. This in turn, decrease the cortisol levels, in the blood. The more you practice these exercises, the better your body becomes. In fact, you gain a lot in terms of flexibility.
To make matters easy for all to understand, it will be just right to say that tension and compression are parts of Yin Yoga, as well. Although, it is also a part of other yoga forms.
Ways to Establish Tension
In the realm of Yoga, when you are stretching yourself, then you are actually applying tension. It can help you to increase the movement range of the joints. Some of the asanas that you can do, to establish tension, so that the bones and muscles elongate are Paschimottasana. In this asana, you are supposed to touch the feet with your fingers, in the seated and forward folded position. All kinds of opener exercises like hip openers, shoulder openers, groin openers, and chest openers, fall under the tension category. The posture can get better with time and more practice. The joints start o open up, when you exert adequate tension on them.
These are two stress applications, that will aid you in developing a fit and flexible body in the long run. Although you can associate stress with all yoga forms, it is more evident in yoga forms like Yin Yoga. It is one of the toughest yoga forms today, as you have to hold poses for a long time. However, it reaches deep into the muscles and connective tissues and can aid in better development of the body. Yin Yoga is basically a mix of relaxation, tension and compression. You cannot experience deep relaxation in this yoga realm. You can also combine this yoga form with other yoga forms like Hatha Yoga, Ashtanga Yoga and Vinyasa Yoga, to get the maximum benefits today. It will surely transform you for the better.