Yoga and massage have similar benefits. In fact the two are often paired to help with a variety of illnesses and injuries. Both have been proven to reduce stress, improve circulation, and boost range of motion. It should be no surprise as to why there are a handful of massage therapists who are also yoga instructors. Yoga has proven to improve sleeping patterns, boost the immune system, even thoracic outlet syndrome (nerve blockage that causes numbness/tingling sensations down the affected arm and hand).
There are several different types of Yoga (which is true for Massage as well) such as Ashtanga, Bikram, Hatha, Lyengar, Kundalini, and Vinyasa. It is advised to try each style of yoga to see which best suits your needs.
Ashtanga also referred to as the power yoga is meant to be more of a workout and for weight loss.
Bikram Yoga (hot yoga); the heat improves range of motion for more complex stretches/poses.
Hatha Yoga is slower and more peaceful, often centered on meditation.
use of props to better align your body.
Kundalini Yoga works with the chakras and focuses on releasing energy.
Vinyasa Yoga a more vigorous with intense stretching.
Benefits of yoga often include(definitely not limited to): improvement in flexibility, increased circulation, improve bone health, muscle strength, decreases likelihood of injury, improves athletic performance, increased vitality, enhanced respiration, boosts immunity, and relieve stress. Much like massage, yoga improves range of motion to increase stretching capabilities which in turn make joints more limber, improving posture, as well as breathing. Yoga also increases circulation of oxygen-riched blood and decreasing blood pressure, improving overall wellness. There is a certain sense of calm and the Zen like qualities of yoga allow you to take some time for yourself to feel more rejuvenated.
The decision to get a massage before or after a yoga session is entirely up to you and what you need. By getting a massage prior to yoga, your muscles will receive a proper warm up allowing you to sustain poses longer. Massage will also calm your mind and allow more focus on the techniques used in yoga. Massage after yoga creates a euphoric, deeply relaxing sensation and will probably best be done on a non-busy day.
The benefits of both yoga and massage are endless and overall you can expect an improvement in quality of life and self-care.
Jennifer Roldan, massage therapist at Northwest Wellness in Federal Way