I have been faced with a lot of questions about pain. My yoga classes are typically pretty vigorous, and I tend to push my students to their edges. I believe that if you don't push through intensity, you will not get stronger. I have recently been nicknamed the "ab assaulter" at one of the studios I work at. So yes, I can be tough. I also like to remind everyone that yoga is about listening to their bodies and knowing when to slow down when you need to take a break. So, how do you know when to back off and when to push through the intensity?
Good pain is the discomfort we usually feel within the working muscles during an exercise and is often referred to as "the burn." This sensation is what people are talking about when they say "no pain, no gain." This feeling is short lived discomfort during the activity only. Good sore? Most of us know that after a really tough workout (especially when it is something new), you feel sore and your muscles are fatigued the next day, or even days after. DOMS, or Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness, is another type of good pain. This type of soreness occurs one to three days after an intense exercise session and ranges from very mild to severe. I personally love being very sore because I feel like I accomplished something from my workout.
Bad pain is usually a sharp or sudden pain in or near a joint during the exercise and is totally different from the feeling of burning in the muscles or a deep seated soreness a few days later. Bad pain is usually accompanied by swelling around the joint. This kind of pain is treated with RICE (rest, ice, compression and elevation). If this pain lasts longer than a week or so, you might want to talk to a doctor.
Typically, the improper execution of an exercise or a yoga pose causes bad pain. Bad form and fast, jerky movements are usually to blame. To avoid such types of pain during a yoga class, make sure you listen to your instructor about the alignment cues. Alignment keeps our bodies safe and makes us stronger. If you are new to working out all together and want to start training with weights, make sure you talk to a personal trainer first. You need to execute proper form to avoid injuries.
Don't let the fear of pain keep you from working out or doing yoga. Stay focused on your goals, your intentions, and listen to your body.
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