Whether you're a fitness fanatic who's constantly sore from the #gains, or you sit at a desk all day for work and the muscle stiffness is so real, it can be all too tempting to pop an Advil at the first sign of any aches or pains. Yes, the immediate relief for your displeased joints and hard-working muscles can feel so relieving post-pill. But the next time your reach for the Advil for a knot in your back that just won't budge, take into consideration the fact that yoga helps with back pain.
As a yoga instructor, I have often been hit with the overwhelming urge to low-key lay out a bunch of yoga mats in the pharmacy section of drug stores. Along with relieving pesky back pain, restorative yoga can relieve neck pain, muscle soreness, and essentially any aches or pains that have been bugging you.
Plus, it's worth mentioning that non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like Advil or Motrin honestly aren't that great for your body. According to the New York Times, taking ibuprofen and other similar, over-the-counter painkillers could have some pretty bad consequences for people who regularly exercise, including kidney and muscle tissue problems.
So, instead of popping an NSAID the next time you're feeling a little achy, here are five reasons why you should roll out your yoga mat instead.
1. Increased Flexibility
Having a limber, flexible body definitely feels good, and being able to do splits is certainly pretty cool, but a lack of flexibility in the lower body -- especially the hamstrings, glutes, and hip flexors -- can be the cause of your annoying lower back pain.
Instead of popping an NSAID, try some gentle hamstring stretches and flow into pigeon pose, which is an incredible hip-opener. You might just find your aches slowly fading away as you take your stretches a bit deeper.
2. More Strength
Weak muscles can also be a cause of pesky bodily pains.
Doing strengthening yoga poses such as chair pose and boat pose will balance out your body and make the Tylenol seem totally unnecessary.
3. Protection From Injuries
A regular yoga practice increases the awareness you have of your body, including its needs, and therefore protects you from injuries caused by carelessness.
NSAIDs are most commonly used for minor injuries, so a consistent yoga flow will help you steer clear of the over-the-counter stuff.
4. Better Posture
Back pain can be due to postural alignment problems, which is basically a fancy way of referring to your posture.
A lot of yogis say their practice literally makes them grow taller, and it's true! Proper alignment on your mat will improve your posture and relieve consistent aches related to a hunched upper body.
5. Less Stress
When you're stressed, it's common to clench your jaw and hold tension in your shoulders, which can lead to neck pain.
Setting a few minutes aside for yoga will relieve stress and make that neck-related nuisance seem to magically vanish.
Peace out, Advil. I'll be over here chilling in child's pose.