Some people are by nature muscle-bound or tight, and they have a limited range of motion. They can hardly lean forward far enough to tie their shoes.
People with tight muscles tend to be protective and guarded in their movements. They don't have the confidence to move freely. This lack of confidence hinders their movements and makes them even stiffer. Eventually, they may develop bad posture, which can lead to other health problems, including chronic back pain and chronic headaches (see Chapter 14). Bad posture can compress the internal organs, causing poor digestion, high blood pressure, and respiratory ailments.
If you're stiff by nature, yoga with weights can seem like a risky enterprise mentally and emotionally when you begin exercising. But hang in there. Breath by breath, exercise by exercise, you can escape the cage that your body has become, spread your wings, and fly. As Chapter 4 explains, yoga breathing techniques can improve the blood circulation in your body and bring new healthy cells to your muscles. Where flexibility is concerned, success breeds success. One muscle unknotting can cause the one beside it to loosen. Even people who are very stiff by nature can become limber if they stick with yoga with weights and practice it as little as twice a week. Eventually, your muscles will rest back against your bones and stretch out and elongate, and you'll be able to move more comfortably and freely.
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