How acupressure helps you on and off your mat
Acupressure is an ancient technique that uses principles of acupuncture to promote relaxation, wellness, and muscle release. It is more accessible for those who want immediate relief and are in between their next yoga class, massage or acupuncture appointment.
The same meridians and pressure points can be triggered with tools such as self massage, acupressure mats, massage balls, ear beads and other tools. Having these on hand will help you receive some of the benefits of reduced muscle tension, improved circulation and feelings of relaxation.
Similar to how foam rollers can relax overworked muscles, acupressure props contribute to your yoga practice both on and off the mat.
Unlocking your Yoga Practice
Whether you are new to yoga or a lifelong yogi, there is a lot more to yoga than nailing a tricky pose or quieting the mind after a long day. Yoga is a great strength builder, which can lead to sore muscles and tightness. Using acupressure to target these muscles will help you find balance on both sides of the body and an enhanced sense of balance and strength. The cardiovascular benefits from working out and flowing in your yoga class can continue long past your yoga session with attention to acupressure points. Acupressure can increase circulation and promote muscle healing and heart health even after your yoga session.
If you are looking for less of a physical release, acupressure is also a great compliment to meditation. Using your acupressure mat you can combine meditation with a physical release. At first the combination of physical and mental release may seem distracting, however trying both at once will allow your mind to release fixation on other thoughts and ideas that arise during your session. Focus on your inhales and exhales and let the physical nature of acupressure fade away as you simply ‘be’ in your mind and body.
Off the Mat
You may have realized some of the benefits of yoga without even knowing it. Off the mat you can expected benefits of healthier sleep patterns, mental clarity, and anxiety reduction. When combining acupressure techniques these benefits become more visible. While some people use acupressure mats to tap into the fascial release, you can use acupuncture, chiropractic work, or personal pressure point massage to feel the difference in your mind and body. Find ways to access these tools at home so you can continue the benefits long past your latest appointment or yoga class.
Acupressure has been shown to improve sleep quality, even weeks after a long acupressure session. By adding a few minutes a day of acupressure with your hands or acupressure mat you will begin to train the release of your muscles and reduce tension. Improving sleep is important to your immune system, cognitive function and mental health. If you find yourself laying in bed with difficulty sleeping, try some acupressure points that will quiet your mind and start to relax your body.
Studies have been conducted to connect acupressure with mental clarity as students took exams. Various reflex points have been found to relieve poor concentration and fatigue. As a major deadline comes up or you find yourself studying for an exam, use your acupressure props to break up your work time and regain clarity before you dive into the work again. Especially if you work in front of a computer all day, acupressure can help reduce tension headaches, and eye strain. Even simply massaging in between your eyes will center you and increase your focus as you tackle the next task.
Anxiety can come on at anytime. Perhaps you have a big presentation coming up at work or you have a long travel day that seems never ending. Acupressure allows your mind to focus on something other than the immediate stress and thoughts on your mind. Other benefits may include a reduction in heart palpitations, nervousness and fear. Using an acupressure mat or prop while laying down can neutralize the physical manifestations of anxiety and allow you to breathe deeply and calmly.
It is important to access the benefits of acupressure often and frequently. These can provide quick fixes but greater benefits are achieved with long-term practice. Use the time to focus on your wellbeing and achieve mental and physical health benefits.
About the author-Cameron Cler
Cameron is traveler at heart, obsessed with seeing the world and discovering ways to contribute to positive global change. As a registered yoga teacher, she balances her constant travel and work in the startup world by channeling her inner yogi and welcoming peace in chaotic moments. Her passion is cultivating creativity and inspiration while sharing travel stories, yoga classes, wellness tips, and smiles with her friends, family, and students.