How does regular asana practice keep muscles and joints healthy?
Swami Sivananda: Thickened and immovable joints with consequent lack of free movement give a great deal of discomfort and uneasiness. If the joints move freely the ligaments and surrounding tissues will be in a healthy condition. By the practice of asanas, free movement is given to the all the joints, including the spinal joints. Free movement prevents the spine from stiffening and contracting, checking ossification and degeneration of the bones in the spinal column. Muscles of the cervical, dorsal and lumbar regions are also stretched and relaxed. The body is thus kept in a fit condition.
If muscles are not properly exercised, they contract. The blood circulation and nerve force are consequently impeded and functional disturbances of the organs and of general nerve-tone result. The muscles atrophy. Practice of asanas keeps the muscles, organs and nerves in a healthy condition. In turn, sound functioning of the organs depends upon good healthy nerves. Yoga, therefore, is the perfect system of physical culture.
It is the king of all exercise systems. By practising these yogic exercises, the body is made strong and healthy. There is no use theorizing; what is wanted is regular, systematic, sustained practice. An ounce of practice is better than tons of theory. Many people practise these exercises by fits and starts, giving up the practice after some months, hence the full benefits of the system are not derived. Regularity in the practice is a necessity.
Printed in Conversations on the Science of Yoga – Hatha Yoga Book 7, Hatha Yoga and Health