The WHYs of Yoga: Squeezing and Soaking

Some times we need a ‘kick’. The WHYs of yoga are how I motivate myself to get to yoga class and practice yoga and meditation at home.

This is the second in a series of blog posts with one of the many WHYs that yoga is so beneficial for our mind and body.

It is my hope that this WHY, the squeezing and soaking of your cartilage, can be your motivational ‘kick’.

Yoga Prevents Cartilage Breakdown – With the practice of yoga, you take your joints through their full range of motion while providing a normal amount of pressure and friction to them. This normal level of pressure and friction is required by your joint cartilage to function optimally and produce cartilage-maintaining molecules.

Healthy joint cartilage is like a sponge; it receives fresh nutrients only when its fluid is squeezed out and a new supply can be soaked up. Put simply, yoga can help prevent degenerate arthritis and mitigate disability by “squeezing and soaking” areas of cartilage that normally aren’t used with our day to day movements.

Without the proper sustenance to your joints by this process of squeezing and soaking cartilage, your neglected joints can eventually wear out, exposing the underlying bone like worn-out brake pads and leading to osteoarthritis.

As we go about our daily lives, we are most comfortable with the ranges of motion we commonly experience. But these habitual daily motions may not fully engage our body. The sequences of poses in a typical yoga class, even if it is the most gentle class, are designed to break those habits of motion and engage all your muscles and joints. In other words, a great squeezing and soaking.

For a more detailed explanation of the sustenance of cartilage, see this article by Sabrina Jahn and Jacob Klein in Physics Today April 2019 Lubrication of Articular Cartilage