Sunshine House -5183Karuna is compassion, active sympathy and gentle affection. Muscle soreness after asana practice may tell you that you’ve pushed yourself too much the day before or that your sequencing was a little less conscious than it could’ve been. But even if you are not sure which poses were a tiny bit out of your range or what sequence would’ve made things better, there is one practice that can really help – massage. What I’ve found over the years is that if I skip self-massage after my asanas, I’m more likely to be sore regardless of which poses I’ve ventured into that day. Self-massage is a simple, efficient practice that can both minimize muscle aches and actually improve the effect of your asanas. Massage is a natural complement to yoga. Perhaps you’ve attended yoga classes which finished with the teacher coming around during shavasana and massaging your head or feet. And perhaps you’ve noticed how this simple touch deepened your relaxation. But massage after asanas not only helps you relax and stave off subsequent soreness, it also can improve the hormonal, lymphatic, circulatory and energetic benefits of the poses. The coupling of these two health practices is a match made in seventh yoga heaven. While it’s not exactly practical to have your massage therapist waiting outside the class, a simple 10-minute self-massage which targets the joints and lymph nodes, is something you can do after your home practice which will maximize the health benefits of your asanas.The Hatha Yoga Pradipika, the seminal text of practical guidance for yogis, written in the 15th century CE, recommended that the practitioner massage him or herself after performing strenous pranayama which caused perspiration. “Rub the body with the perspiration from the labour (of pranayama). The body derives firmness and steadiness from this.” The Shiva Samhita offered the same advice, “At first perspiration comes in the body of the yogi; when perspiration appears it should be rubbed in the body, otherwise the basic elements in the body of the yogi are destroyed.” The modern yoga master, Pattabhi Jois, advises his students to use self-massage after their asana practice. “The sweat generated by yoga should be gradually dried by rubbing it into the body with the hands, and not by exposing it to the air or by drying it with a towel or cloth.” This year at the Barcelona Yoga Conference you can really enjoy a lot of different massage techniques. There will be various massage teachers and plenty of feet and hands around for sure !!! 😀 

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