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None of us are strangers to muscle pain and sore tissues. The pain is not the culmination of any single act but a result of the modern lifestyle and habits. The profusely stressful schedule and work hours build up a lot of tension in your muscles, causing pain in your back, leg, neck and so on.
Most of us tend to ignore the muscle pains and continue with our daily chores. But, the disregard of the muscle strain and discomfort can result in future discomforts such as limited movement and stiffness.
The most effective and peaceful method to relieve yourself of the muscle pains is Yoga! Yes, it is the ultimate answer to get rid of that  excruciating pain bothering you on a daily basis. The practice of yoga involves the stretching and relaxing of muscles, that will help release the muscle pain. Flexing and stabilizing your core and muscles through the right way of stretching out acts as a cure to the back, leg and neck muscle pain.
Practising yoga poses will not only get you to get rid of achy and inflamed muscles but also help improve the blood flow into your brain and create a peace of mind, asserts Dr Sharad Kulkarni, one of the most renowned Ayurveda practitioners in Bangalore. So, read on to know about the amazing and effective yoga poses that will help you get rid of muscle pain.
Common Causes Of Muscle Pain
The excessive stretching and pulling of the ligaments, tendons, nerves and joints can cause pain in the shoulder, neck, sides of the abdomen, legs etc. The most prevalent causes of muscle pain are
- use of certain medicines
- sore muscles
- electrolyte imbalance
- unfavourable climate
- excessive exercise.
Yoga Poses For Muscle Pain
1. Tadasana or palm tree pose
By stretching out the muscles, especially the ones from your toes to your fingers, this yoga position helps in relaxing your nerves. The standing asana can also be done in a supine position and is the first and ending asana in surya namaskar. Tadasana helps by developing and activating the nerves in your entire body and reduces your back pain. Regular practice can strengthen the knees, thighs, abdomen, ankles, and buttocks, and gives relief in sciatica.
How to do it:
- Stand straight on the ground, with a small gap between your feet.
- Raise both of your arms, while taking a deep breath.
- Keep your arms upward and interlock your fingers.
- Now, raise your heels and stay on your toes.
- Try to maintain the pose for 10 minutes, do not exert yourself.
- Maintain slow and deep breathing.
- Come back to the original position by exhaling (deep breathing).
Caution: Do not overdo the asana. Individuals suffering from a headache, insomnia, and blood pressure may consult a yoga instructor for advice.
2. Parsvakonasana or lateral angle posture
This position helps in stretching your muscles and are extremely beneficial for people suffering from lower back pain. Performing parsvakonasana stretches your back, leg and thigh muscles, and is also said to cure osteoporosis. By creating traction in the muscles, the asana nourishes the verbal discs as well. It also helps in relieving menstrual discomfort by loosening up the abdominal muscles.
How to do it:
- Begin in the tadasana pose.
- Expand the chest, drop the shoulders and keep the neck straight.
- Inhale, and take your right feet away from the left to around 4 inches so that both the feet are parallel to each other.
- Turn your right foot toward the right side at ninety degrees, without turning your body.
- Bend the right knee, with your thigh parallel to the ground.
- Exhale and with it, bend your right hand and touch your right feet.
- Take your left hand up, so that your biceps are touching your left ear.
- Keep your arms straight and left hand upwards.
- Maintain the position for 20-30 seconds, with normal breathing.
- Come back to the original position by bringing your left hand back to touch the left thigh.
- Inhale and bring your right hand back to stand straight.
- Exhale and compose your legs together.
Caution: Avoid the asana if you are suffering from insomnia or high and low blood pressure. In case of cervical or neck problems, instead of turning your head, look straight - extending your neck.
3. Baddha konasana or the cobbler pose
This asana helps in maintaining a healthy lower back and relaxation of the muscles. Baddha konasana aids in relieving muscle pain by improving the flexibility of your muscles. It cures any non-mobility issues and muscle spasms. The asana helps out by stretching out the inner thighs, knees and groin.
How to do it:
- Sit on the floor with an erect spine.
- Bend your knees and bring your feet closer.
- Place your feet together, so that the soles touch.
- Take a deep breath, and while exhaling press down your thighs and knees to the floor. Do this by pressing the elbows your thighs or on your knees.
- Maintain normal breathing and slowly bring your thighs up and down in a slow flapping movement.
- Hold the pose for 1-5 minutes.
- Come back to the original position by stretching your legs.
Caution: Individuals suffering from the knee of groin injury should avoid this asana.
4. Makarasana or crocodile posture
Regarded as a beginner's pose, this one helps with relaxing the body muscles to get rid of any pain or discomfort. Performing makarasana can help relax your cervical spine and is good for individuals suffering from spondylitis. By relaxing your muscles, makarasana helps with back and knee pain and especially any spinal disorders. Makarasana is extremely beneficial for post workout muscle pains.
How to do it:
- Lie flat on your stomach on the mat.
- Raise your head and shoulders.
- Fold your arms and place them in the front, with your elbows pointing.
- Hold your chin in the palms and, and keep the elbows close so that the pressure is equally distributed.
- Close your eyes and maintain steady breathing, inhale and exhale.
- Do this for 10-15 minutes.
- Come back to the original position by bringing your feet together and lifting your chin from the palms.
Caution: Avoid this asana if you have any serious back or knee injury.
5. Yastikasana or stick pose
This asana helps get rid of frozen shoulders or tight muscles in your body. Yastikasana strengthens your body by removing any muscular stress or tensions. It eases joint pains, as it stretches your upper and lower limbs as well as the spine. By practising the asana, you can provide relaxation to your body muscles, especially pelvic and abdominal.
How to do it:
- Lie down flat on the mat.
- Move your hands above your head while inhaling deeply and stretch it, along with your legs.
- Maintain very minimum gap between your legs and arms.
- Maintain the position for 20-25 minutes, maintaining constant breathing.
- Come to the original position with a long and deep exhale and bring your hands back to your sides.
- Repeat for 3-5 times.
Caution: Individuals with high blood pressure, kyphosis, chronic backaches and heart diseases should not practice this position.
6. Matsyasana or fish pose
This pose helps in releasing the tension in neck and shoulders. With most of your daily stress and anxiety being build upon the shoulders and neck, which becomes the centre of pain, practising matyasana can help in getting rid of the pain. It also helps in relieving lower back pain.
How to do it:
- Lie flat on the ground in your mat, facing the ceiling.
- Bend your right leg, then place your right foot on the left thigh.
- In the same manner, bend your left leg and keep it on the right thigh.
- Using your elbows, lift and arch your back.
- Rest your crown on the ground and hold your toes with your hands.
- Maintain normal breathing and hold the position for 5-6 minutes.
- Come to the original position by exhaling and lifting your head first and dropping your back to the floor.
- Untangle the legs and relax.
Caution: Individuals suffering from high or low blood pressure, insomnia and migraine or severe back injury are advised to abstain from practising the pose.
7. Adho mukha savasana or the downward facing dog pose
Practising this asana will stretch your muscles to provide relief to the muscle pains. It will elongate your muscles on the back of your leg, thereby releasing the tightness. Adho mukha savasana aids in reducing the pressure concentration on the sciatic nerves.
How to do it:
- Stand on your four limbs, also known as the table pose.
- Gently lift your hips while exhaling and straightening your knees and elbows.
- The hands should be in line with your shoulders, and your feet in line with the hips.
- Toes should be pointed outwards.
- Press your hands lightly into the ground and then, stretch your neck.
- Turn your gaze to your navel and stay in that position for a few seconds.
- Come to the original position by bending your knees and returning to the table position.
Caution: Avoid adho mukha savasana if you are suffering from high blood pressure, carpal tunnel syndrome or a dislocated shoulder.
8. Balasana or child pose
Resembling the foetal position, this asana helps in relieving thigh and back pains. Balasana stretches your spine and is extremely effective to cure after-workout muscle pain. The position is also helpful in relieving neck pain.
How to do it:
- Sit on your heels on the ground, keeping your knees together or apart.
- By lowering your forehead, bend forward and touch the floor as you exhale.
- Keep your palms facing up and alongside your body.
- Gently press your chest on your thighs and hold for 1 minute.
- Inhale and while you are doing so, pull back your navel to your spine.
- Exhale and while you are doing so, soften your whole body.
- Do this for 4-12 breaths.
- Come to the original position by placing your palms under your shoulders and raising your body back to the sitting position, while inhaling.
Caution: Avoid balasana during pregnancy, and if you are suffering from knee injuries.
9. Bhujangasana or the cobra pose
This one is extremely beneficial for releasing pain related to your biceps, shoulders, or triceps. The cobra pose helps by stretching out the tightly wound or stiff shoulders, upper back and neck. The pose helps in improving your lower back flexibility.
How to do it:
- Lie on your stomach and keep your forehead on the floor, with your feet placed together.
- Press the floor using the top of your feet.
- Place your hands under the shoulders and keep your elbows close to your body.
- Maintain the position with your shoulder blades back and downward.
- Stabilise your lower back by pressing your feet to the ground.
- Inhale and lift your chest and head off the floor.
- Keep your shoulder relaxed and make the back muscles work.
- Exhale and lower yourself into the ground.
- Come to the original position by lifting yourself with the help of your hands.
Caution: Avoid the practice if you are suffering from hyperthyroidism, hernia, peptic ulcer or intestinal tuberculosis.
10. Shavasana or corpse pose
One of the most beneficial asana in relieving muscular pain, practising this position can help is loosening up your body muscles. Shavasana is useful to get rid of muscle pains caused due to the busy lifestyle and office life of the contemporary world. By laying down on the floor, and maintaining a steady breath, the pose helps relax your body and with it, the muscles and get relief from any pain.
How to do it:
- Use a mat or a sheet to lie on.
- And lie down in the centre of the mat.
- Keep your spine straight and shoulder on your sides.
- Keep your arms wide with your fingers relaxed and palms facing upward.
- Close your eyes and concentrate on your breathing and relax your face.
- Stay in this position for 15-30 minutes.
11. Setu bandha sarvangasana or the supported bridge pose
By stretching the muscles in your chest, neck and back, this asana aids in relieving any concentrated pain. It is extremely beneficial in releiving joint pain. Setu bandha sarvangasana involves all of your organs and is used for facial muscle relaxation as well.
How to do it:
- Lie down flat on your back.
- Bend your knees and keep your feet on the floor apart.
- Your ankles and knees should be in a straight line.
- Keep your palms facing downward and arms resting on your sides.
- Inhale and while doing so, lift your back up and off the floor.
- Roll your shoulders in so that your chin touches your chest.
- Your weight should be supported by your feet, shoulder and arms.
- Interlace your fingers, push your hands to the ground and lift your torso.
- Hold this pose for 1 minute, maintain slow and deep breathing.
- Exhale and lie down on the floor, coming back to the original position.
Caution: Individuals suffering from neck injuries, and back problems must avoid this. Avoid during pregnancy.
*Dr. Sharad Kulkarni is one of the most renowned Ayurveda practitioners in Bangalore. He has been an influential speaker on healthcare throughout India. He has been awarded the 'BEST YOUNG RESEARCHER AYURVEDA SURGERY' by RULA Awards in November 2018. Dr. Kulkarni is one of the youngest Ayurveda Doctors, who had been invited to speak on Ayurveda in London.
-  Cramer, H., Lauche, R., Hohmann, C., Lüdtke, R., Haller, H., Michalsen, A., ... & Dobos, G. (2013). Randomized-controlled trial comparing yoga and home-based exercise for chronic neck pain. The Clinical journal of pain, 29(3), 216-223.
-  Sherman, K. J., Cherkin, D. C., Erro, J., Miglioretti, D. L., & Deyo, R. A. (2005). Comparing yoga, exercise, and a self-care book for chronic low back pain: a randomized, controlled trial. Annals of internal medicine, 143(12), 849-856.